No. 2 ASU Takes Game 1, 12-4

May 15, 2010

Final Box Score (PDF)

, Ariz. – The No. 2 Arizona State baseball team defeated host Arizona, 12-4, in the opening game of a three-game Pac-10 baseball series at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium on Saturday evening in front of a season-high 3,012 fans

Arizona (20-17, 9-10 Pac-10) claimed a 2-0 lead in the second inning before the Sun Devils took a 5-2 lead with five unanswered runs over the next three innings. Rafael Valenzuela’s two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth cut the UA deficit to 5-4, but ASU (42-5, 15-4 Pac-10) quickly answered with two runs in the top of the sixth en route to posting seven more unanswered runs to win going away.

The game changed in the top of the sixth after Arizona seemingly had gained momentum on Valenzuela’s fourth home run of the season. But, with two outs and two runners on, UA starter Kurt Heyer was lifted from the game in favor of Bryce Bandilla. Austin Barnes drilled a double to the left centerfield gap to plate the two runners, and suddenly the Sun Devils reestablished a three-run lead at 7-4.

ASU starter Seth Blair (9-0), who had allowed four runs on eight hits in his first five innings of work, turned in his best inning of the night in the sixth to thwart any opportunity of an immediate Wildcat response. Blair struck out three batters in the inning and stranded a runner to send the Sun Devils back to the dugout with the three-run edge.

Bandilla struggled in the seventh, allowing a leadoff triple to Zack MacPhee and a two-run home run to Kole Calhoun as ASU extended its lead to 9-4. Joe Allison and Tyler Hale pitched in the eighth and combined to allow three runs as ASU set the score at its final, 12-4.

Heyer (6-2) suffered just his second loss of the season as he allowed a career-high seven runs on four walks. Three of the four walks came in to score off Heyer, which was the difference in the game after his 5.2 innings were in the book.

Arizona captured the early momentum as it plated two runs on two hits in the home half of the second inning. Cole Frenzel singled to lead off and was able to move to second base on an errant pickoff attempt by Blair. Robert Refsnyder followed with a triple to centerfield to drive in Frenzel with the game’s first run. Refsnyder scored on an RBI groundout by Josh Garcia.

The Wildcats had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the fifth after clawing to within a run of the Sun Devils. After Valenzuela’s one-out homer, Jett Bandy belted a line drive to left field that was caught for the second out of the inning. Steve Selsky followed with a triple and Frenzel drew a walk to put runners on the corners. But, Refsnyder struck out swinging to end the inning.

The two-out hit that alluded the Wildcats went the way of the Sun Devils in the top half of the sixth as Heyer’s night ended and Barnes delivered the knock-out blow with the double, continuing a trend of two-out misfortune for UA in recent weeks. In the club’s last eight losses, opponents have driven in 30 runs with two outs in an inning to the Wildcats’ five.

Arizona will look to bounce back on Sunday night as it hosts ASU in the second game of the three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.