TEMPE, Ariz. - No. 15 Arizona State loaded the bases in the ninth, but ground into a double play as the Arizona Wildcats held on to a 7-6 win in the Territorial Cup game on Sunday at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Wildcats won the Territorial Cup Series for a fourth straight year.
Seven Sun Devils (34-17-1, 15-12) reached base in the final two innings as ASU loaded the bases in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could not overcome its one-run deficit.
Three Devils walked, including a pair with two outs, to load the bases in the eighth, but left fielder Jake Peevyhouse ground out to first to strand them. Center fielder Kasey Coffman and third baseman Michael Benjamin each singled to start the ninth and a one-out walk to catcher Max Rossiter loaded the bases for designated hitter Nate Causey, who ground into a double play up the middle to end the game.
Benjamin and Coffman each went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI, including a two-run homer by Coffman, to lead ASU at the plate. Benjamin extended his hitting streak to nine games and now has 25 multiple-hit games, including a team-high eight with at least three hits.
Left-hander Matt Dunbar (1-1) took his first loss of the season after surrendering the eventual game-winning run in the eighth inning. Dunbar's 32 appearances this season are tied for the 10th most in a single season in ASU history.
The Wildcats (31-21, 12-15) took a one-run lead in the top of the first on a double and RBI single, but the Devils tied the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the second. Causey was hit by a pitch and advanced on a single by right fielder Trever Allen before a throwing error by shortstop Kevin Newman allowed Causey to score from second.
ASU fell behind in top of the third, 2-1, on a sacrifice fly by Wildcats third baseman Brandon Dixon before the Devils scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the frame to take its first lead of the game, 4-2. Peevyhouse led off the inning with a triple and scored on the next pitch as Coffman drove a two-run homer over the right field fence. The next three batters all reached base, capped off with an RBI single by Rossiter.
A three-run double by UA first baseman Joseph Maggi in the top of the fifth inning pushed the Wildcats ahead by one, 5-4, but again the Sun Devils countered with a two-run double by Benjamin to retake the lead, 6-5.
The Wildcats scored one run in the fifth to tie the game at six and then added one in the eighth on an RBI single by Dixon to score the eventual game-winning run.
Starting right-hander Zak Miller did not factor in the decision as he conceded five runs, including four earned, on six hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Right-hander Josh McAlister threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed just three base runners on two hits and a walk.
Arizona starting left-hander Tyler Crawford (6-2) earned the win after throwing 7 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs, including five earned, on eight hits while striking out five. Left-hander Augey Bill (2) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless frames to record the save.
The Sun Devils close out their regular season home slate with a midweek conference matchup against BYU on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ASU then travels to Washington to finish the 2013 regular season with a three-game Pac-12 set Friday-Sunday. First pitch on Friday is at 5 p.m., while Saturday's begins at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. Both Saturday and Sunday's games in Seattle will be televised by the Pac-12 Network, and all four game next week will be broadcast by Tim Healey (@TimHealeyASU) and former Sun Devil baseball star Seth Dhaenens (@sethdhaenens) on the MidFirst Bank Sun Devil IMG Sports Network on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 and on the All-Access Player at thesundevils.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter at @ASU_Baseball for live scoring and updates from the weekend, and check thesundevils.com for stats, notes and more.
Fans observed a moment of silence prior to the game in honor of police officer Daryl Raetz, firefighter Bradley Harper and public safety officer Tim Huffman...the Sun Devils have registered double-digit hits in16 of the past 19 games and 34 total games this season...right-hander Darin Gillies faced one batter in the eighth...left-hander Adam McCreery faced four batters in the fourth and walked three. ..left-hander Brett Lilek induced a groundout to the only batter he faced in the top of the eighth...right-hander Alex Blackford threw a perfect ninth inning.