After a tumultuous weekend, a positive result for the Arizona State baseball program was much-needed. On Tuesday, it came in the form of a four-run ninth inning that vaulted the Sun Devils to a 14-13 road win over No. 13 Arizona at Hi Corbett Field.
With the game tied, 10-10, Outfielder Tyler Williams was issued a bases-loaded walk by Wildcats right-hander Robby Medel to bring in the go-ahead run, before second baseman Carter Aldrete laced a two-run single and third baseman Jeremy McCuin added a sacrifice fly, providing ASU (21-24, 8-14 Pac-12) just enough run support to come away with the victory.
In the bottom of the ninth, Sun Devils right-hander Eder Erives (1-3) conceded an RBI single to Alfonso Rivas, then allowed another run on a wild pitch, bringing the Wildcats within two. With Erives one out away from clinching the result, JJ Matijevic’s RBI single decreased the Sun Devils’ lead to 14-13.
Arizona’s Nick Quintana, who hit a game-tying three-run homer to even the game at 10-apiece in the eighth, worked a 3-1 count before Erives induced the freshman third baseman into a fly out to end the game.
The win marks the Sun Devils’ second in a row.
The Wildcats observed a bullpen day on the mound, deploying right-hander Landon Faulkner—used normally as a reliever—to start the game before having eight other pitchers toe the rubber during the contest. Right-hander Tylor MeGill boasted the lengthiest outing, tossing 2 1⁄3 innings.
ASU took advantage of its opponent’s down day on the mound, obliging with 14 runs on 17 total hits. All nine Sun Devil batters recorded at least one hit and five logged at least two.
Early on, ASU jumped ahead by administering damage with two outs. The team batted a combined 7-for-12 with two down on the night, and against Arizona’s first three pitchers, Sun Devil batters plated their team’s first four runs despite facing such situations.
In the top of the third, Williams (four RBIs) launched an RBI triple into center field to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead. Catcher Lyle Lin drilled a two-run single into right, extending ASU’s advantage in the fourth, before center fielder Gage Canning knocked an RBI single into right during the fifth.
An error during the fourth by Williams on a fly ball by Matijevic in left resulted in the Wildcats’ first run of the contest, marking the first blemish in ASU starter Chaz Montoya’s evening.
The freshman southpaw tossed four strong innings before his outing turned sour in fifth, when Alfonso Rivas evened the game at four runs apiece when he crushed a three-run blast into centerfield.
However, the Sun Devils would take a sizable lead the next inning.
Left fielder Hunter Bishop hit a two-run triple, before Williams plated another on an error by Arizona shortstop Louis Boyd. Aldrete added on with a two-run double to give the Sun Devils a 9-4 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
Righty Alec Marsh gave up two runs in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI triple by Wildcats center fielder Jared Oliva and an RBI single by Rivas, lowering the deficit to 9-6.
Marsh earned an insurance run on an RBI fielder’s choice by Williams in the seventh. He began to fold in the eighth, and was lifted in favor of left-hander Reagan Todd, who inherited two of Marsh’s baserunners.
Matijevic doubled in one, before Quintana tied the game up at 10 when he crushed a three-run homer off Todd in the bottom of the eighth.
The junior lefty was pulled in favor of Erives, who after seeing his offense spot him a four run advantage, managed to just barely hang on for the win.
Moments That Mattered
Cool, Calm and Collected. The Wildcats threatened to score with runners on the corners with two outs in the first inning, when ASU catcher Lyle Lin fired to second baseman Carter Aldrete to catch Arizona first baseman JJ Matjevic attempting to steal. As Matjevic retreated, aiming to coerce a pickle, Wildcats left fielder Alfonso Rivas began to race from third for home. Aware of the situation, Aldrete paid Matjevic no mind, throwing back to Lin, who tagged Rivas for the final out of the inning to keep the contest scoreless.
The Sun Devils will hit the Pacific Northwest for a three-game set against Washington, with the opening matchup’s first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday, May 12.