Arizona State earned a 10-5 win over Arizona has the Wildcats left the bases loaded three times in the game on Tuesday.
April 5, 2011
Arizona State 10, Arizona 5 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 5 Arizona State baseball team defeated host No. 22 Arizona, 10-5, in a non-conference game between the intrastate rivals on Tuesday evening at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Arizona State (22-6) claimed a 2-1 lead in the top of the second before extending the margin to 6-1 in the fourth. Despite the early deficits, the Wildcats had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game.
Stranded base runners would become a theme for the Wildcats on the evening. Arizona left the bases loaded three times in the game, including the third, fourth and ninth innings. In all, 11 Wildcats were left on base.
Trailing 2-1 in the third, Joey Rickard and Cole Frenzel reached base with one out as the sophomore classmates drew a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. With two outs, Steve Selsky was also hit by a pitch, but Robert Refsnyder popped up to end the inning.
In the top of the third, the Sun Devils appeared to open the game up. Starter Vincent Littleman allowed a one-out hit and a walk to put a pair of runners on base. Reliever Bryce Bandilla was called on to take over for Littleman.
However, Bandilla was unable to prevent the big inning. When it was all said and done, Arizona State had scored four runs on four hits and two walks against the UA pitchers to take a 6-1 lead.
Arizona fought back in the home half of the inning with three runs, but again left the bases loaded in a situation that it could have tied or taken a lead.
The rally started as Johnny Field and Josh Garcia singled to lead off the frame. A sacrifice bunt by Alex Mejia moved the runners to second and third, and with Bryce Ortega at the plate Field came in to score on a wild pitch. A groundout brought home Garcia to cut the deficit to 6-3.
With the bases empty, things seemed to quiet down in the inning. But that was far from the case.
Rickard reached on a two-out single to keep the inning alive. Frenzel, who had been hit in the helmet by Kyle Ottoson an inning earlier, stepped into the box. The first pitch of the at bat struck Frenzel in the back.
As Frenzel took his base, words were exchanged from both sides and the benches cleared. Arizona bullpen catcher TC Mark was ejected from the game in an incident that delayed play for about eight minutes as the Sun Devils also elected to change pitchers when things cooled down.
Releiver Mark Lambson entered to face Jett Bandy, who pulled an RBI double down the left field line to push the Wildcats within a pair of runs. Steve Selsky then drew a walk to again load the bases for Refsnyder. But Refsnyder's sinking line drive to center was scooped up by centerfielder Andy Workman, who made a diving catch in left center field, stranding the potential tying or go ahead runs.
The Sun Devils wasted no time building off the momentum gained as they escaped the fourth inning jam. In the top of the fifth, Bandilla surrendered two more runs and Arizona State had an 8-4 lead.
UA reliever Nick Cunningham did a masterful job in place of Bandilla, throwing 4.0 innings of relief. He struck out three and scattered two hits, while allowing one unearned run in the eighth inning that gave Arizona State a 9-4 lead.
The Sun Devils added another unearned run in the top of the ninth, pushing the lead to 10-4.
A fitting end was in store for the Wildcats who scored a run in the bottom of the ninth, but for the third time in the game left the bases loaded with the potential tying run in the on deck circle.
In all, the Wildcats were just 4-for-15 at the plate with runners in scoring position, and the six runs allowed in the fourth in fifth innings - four charged to Bandilla - were too much to overcome.
For Arizona State, Alex Blackford earned the win out of the bullpen. After taking over for Lambson, Blackford threw 3.0 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed as he improved to 3-0.
Littleman suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 on the year.
Arizona will shift its attention back to Pac-10 Conference action with a three-game series against No. 13 California (19-7) this weekend. The three-game series will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday.