The Arizona State Sun Devils know every game from here on out in crucial. Coming into the weekend, ASU sat in a tie for 7th place in the conference with a 4-5 record. After a 6-5 extra inning win last night, the Sun Devils were able to hold off the Oregon Ducks in a 14-9 victory to put them over .500 in conference play for the first time all season.
"We needed to win today, bottom line," said relief pitcher Matthew Dunbar. "We've played well two games in a row, we need to win tomorrow and we needed to win today."
The Sun Devils were cruising up until the 8th inning, when the ASU faced some deja vu. Oregon put up five runs in the eighth to pull within a run, coming off a four-run eighth in last night's contest.
Dunbar came in with the tying run on second base and one out. He preceded to strike out Brett Thomas and retire Steven Packard on a popout.
"I don't really think too much," said Dunbar. "I just try to execute."
The Sun Devils jumped on Oregon early with a two-run first inning. Michael Benjamin laced a triple to right-field to score Kasey Coffman, who reached on an error to leadoff the game. The next batter, James McDonald, grounded out to score Benjamin from third.
Arizona State tallied 12 hits Saturday night, including seven doubles and two triples.
After Oregon put up five runs in the eighth, Arizona State responded with a four-run eighth inning of their own. After Arizona State scored two runs on wild pitches, Dalton Dinatale ripped a two-out, two-RBI double down the right-field line.
"When I got up there I just tried to see the ball as well as I can and not do too much," Dinatale said. "Sitting on a bench for the full game, you just kinda get cold. So I started stretching, started getting mentally prepared. Basically just getting ready to hit," said Dinatale, who pitch-hit for David Graybill in the 7th inning.
Arizona State will send Billy Young to the mound on Sunday, looking for the sweep. And for Dunbar, sweeping Oregon would be sweeter than most.
"We have a little bone to pick, since they swept us last year up in Eugene, we are trying to return the favor this year."