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ASU Baseball: Sun Devils host No. 18 Wildcats in final home stand of 2017

The Sun Devils will need to sweep Arizona in hopes of finishing the season above .500.

Photo taken by Nick Ramirez

The embattled 2017 campaign of the Arizona State Sun Devils (23-26, 8-16 Pac-12) will reach a crescendo this weekend, as ASU will play host to rival No. 18 Arizona for a three-game set that’ll mark its final games played at Phoenix Municipal Stadium this season.

Arizona State hosts an Arizona (33-17, 12-12 Pac-12) team that appears poised to make another run at the College World Series after falling short in last year’s championship series.

UA heads north into Phoenix currently projected to earn to earn a 2-seed in one of the upcoming regionals. The final 64-team field will be announced on May 29th.

Not in play this weekend for Arizona State is the opportunity to continue the program’s 54-year streak of winning at least 30 games, as Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Washington secured the Sun Devils’ first campaign below the 30-win ledger since the Kennedy administration. In play however, is the chance to pull out a Territorial Cup point and enter the season’s final series at Utah in position to secure a record above .500.

Arizona is led at the plate by first basemen JJ Matijevic, who enters the weekend batting .402 with 82 hits and ten homers. In the 12 games Matijevic has played against ASU in his collegiate career, he’s punished the Sun Devils to the tune of 18 hits with three home runs and 17 RBI’s.

Designated hitter Alfonso Rivas boasts a .381 batting average to go with Matijevic’s high-caliber bat, and the Wildcats are easily the Pac-12 conference’s highest-scoring team with 402 runs scored on the season — dwarfing Utah, who’s second in the conference with 282 runs scored in 2017.

The Sun Devils will get their first cracks against the Wildcats on Thursday, but it’ll be against Arizona’s best starter, as J.C. Cloney comes into Phoenix Muni boasting a 7-1 record with a 2.64 ERA.