On Friday night, Arizona picked up an incredibly emotional win over rival ASU. Saturday brought the inevitable disappointment.
The Wildcats fell behind early and could never come back, losing 8-5 to the Sun Devils in front of 6,617 fans – the fourth-largest crowd in program history – at Hi Corbett Field.
ASU (20-20, 9-8 Pac-12) scored three points ahead of second-placed UA Chandler Murphy, which only lasted three innings. who followed TJ Nichols go 2.2 innings in Friday win in 10 inningsand not counting the bullpen games at Creighton earlier in the week, Arizona has had a starter go over five innings just once in the last 11 games.
‘It hasn’t been great’, UA coach Chip Hale mentioned. “There is definitely concern. We had a fight. The guys did a good job out of the bullpen to keep us in the game. We need a good outing from Garrett (Irvin) tomorrow.
Irvin (3-2, 2.86) was retired after three innings last Saturday at Utah with arm pain, but he had played at least six in his previous six starts.
Arizona (27-13, 12-8) trailed 6-0 before finally breaking through in the fifth for three runs, including 2 RBI hits from Chase Davis and mac bingham. But overall, the Wildcats couldn’t do much against the ASU starter Kyle Luckhamwho, along with two relievers, combined to record 18 strikeouts.
“He did a good job getting the ball in right-handers,” Hale said of Luckham. “You’re just trying to elevate the ball a bit, but he was throwing shots with it and getting ahead. You’re kind of at his mercy at that point.
Arizona had 12 hits, four par Tanner O’Tremba including a solo home run to the center batter’s eye. He increased his average to .370 leading the team.
“Tanner was terrific,” Hale said. “Tanner is a team leader, he’s there to urge everybody, try to get everybody up, and do it with his bat, do it with his defense. When you talk about role model players, whether it’s in class, on the field or in the clubhouse, he is a model guy.
A win Sunday would give Arizona the weekend streak, something it hasn’t gotten in Pac-12 play since sweeping Washington on the road in early April. Not having to wait long for the chance to do so reduces the opportunity for players and coaches to dwell on Saturday’s loss, O’Tremba said.
“I think the most important thing is that the day isn’t that long, and it’s Sunday,” he said. “It’s just hey, let’s go, no matter what, win or lose, hey, let’s go. Let’s put it together and win the series.