PHOENIX - By now, you may have heard of Arizona State infielder Luke Keaschall. If not, it is time to start watching. After all, he overshadowed football coach Kenny Dillingham at Muni Friday night.
In his first-ever Territorial Cup game, Keaschall homered twice and drove-in five of ASU’s six runs on the night in the 6-5 victory over Arizona Friday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. He’s been the Sun Devils’ best hitter during their 8-1 stretch in the last nine games.
After starter Ross Dunn (4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 6 K) allowed two quick Wildcat runs in the first inning, Keaschall knotted the score at 2-2 with a two-run blast.
No runs crossed the plate for either side until Keaschall took his second at-bat. He launched a three-run homer to take a 5-2 lead. The transfer from San Francisco had taken over.
“I have just been trying to stick to what I have been doing,” Keaschall said. “Which is to use the big part of the field, see the ball a little longer and stay back. I am honestly not trying to do too much. Just see the ball and hit the ball to the big part of the field.”
The last of the ASU offensive attack came off an RBI-single from Jacob Tobias in the sixth.
Matt Tieding allowed one run in 3.1 innings of relief.
“I am just trusting the guys behind me,” Tieding said. “We have a great team and it makes it really easy to throw strikes. They are going to make plays. I am not that big of a strike-out guy. I just trust the guys behind me, fill up the zone and good things happen. I know early on, I struggled with throwing strikes, so I think that has been a big thing of just like ‘hey we have a really good team and just trust the guys behind you and good things are going to happen. happen.’”
Blake Pivaroff entered in the ninth inning for the save. Pivaroff was one strike away from a clean 1-2-3 inning when he allowed a solo homer to Wildcat first-baseman Kiko Romero to cut the lead in half at 6-5. Arizona was one swing away from extra innings.
Pivaroff proceded to strike out Cameron LaLiberte to end the game.
“Never a dull moment,” coach Willie Bloomquist said. “It was fun. It was certainly great to come out on top on the winning side of that, but it is a pretty good baseball game on both sides. They competed well. We competed well and came out on top. At the end of the day, that is a good way to start it.”
Game two will take place Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. AZ time at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.