The Arizona State Sun Devils scored the final seven runs of the game to turn a close contest in a 12-4 blowout victory over Arizona on Saturday night in Tucson.
ASU scored in six consecutive innings, putting up multiple runs in five of the frames. “It got away from us,” Wildcat coach Andy Lopez said. “It turned a pretty good ballgame into a slugfest and that’s not good.”
The game changed in the top of the 6th inning when Arizona ace Kurt Heyer walked his second batter of the inning with two outs. Heyer was lifted in favor of left-hander Bryce Bandilla who promptly gave up a two-run double to Austin Barnes.
“That was a back-breaker,” Lopez said.
The Cats kept it close for five innings. Rafael Valenzuela brought the home team within one when he smacked his fourth home run of the season to right-center field. Later in the inning Steve Selsky tripled and Cole Frenzel walked to put runners on the corners but ASU starter Seth Blair struck out Robert Refsnyder on a pitch in the dirt to end the rally.
The Devils responded with the big two-out hit in the 6th inning and their lead wasn’t threatened again.
“We needed a little bit of a performance out of our pen and we didn’t get it,” Lopez said. “We paid for it tonight.”
Game two of the series is 6 p.m. on Sunday. Arizona’s Kyle Simon (7-4) will face ASU’s Merrill Kelly (9-0) on the mound.