Final Territorial Cup Series baseball game at Packard Stadium set for Wednesday
The Territorial Cup Series will make its final trip to Packard Stadium on Wednesday.
With ASU’s move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season, Wednesday will be UA’s final trip to Packard Stadium.
ASU pummeled the Wildcats 14-6 in their last meeting, and a win Wednesday would clinch a home sweep of UA for the season. The teams also play April 25-27 in Tucson.
“You always want to win anytime you play them,” ASU coach Tim Esmay said.
A win would also ensure that the Sun Devils would not need a road series win to clinch the Territorial Cup Series point. The point goes to whichever school wins the five-game series. The first two games are in Tempe, with the final three in Tucson. If UA wins Wednesday, the winner of the three-game series at the end of April wins the point.
Last year, the Territorial Cup Series came down to the final baseball game of the year that was decided in the ninth inning, a game that UA won.
“We’re not going to forget that,” Esmay said. “The whole athletic department was riding on that and we want to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain (this year).”
One Sun Devil who has continued to stay hot is sophomore RJ Ybarra. He went 4-for-8 in the three-game set against USC, and cleared the bases with a double twice. He had a walk-off sacrifice fly Saturday, capping a game in which he tied a career-high with three hits and set a career-high with five RBIs.
His sacrifice fly was the third time this season he had the game-winning RBI, all coming in the last three weekends. He had an RBI double March 22 at Oregon State and a single to take the lead in the 10th inning March 30 at UCLA.
Ybarra is now hitting .314, and his 32 hits and 23 RBIs are both second on the team.
Junior Nate Causey, meanwhile, seems to have a personal vendetta against the rest of the league. He has compiled a spectacular season to this point, leading the team in average (.398), on-base percentage (.486), slugging percentage (.511), hits (35), walks (16), doubles (10) and is tied for the team lead in runs scored (19).
On the mound, freshman right-hander Seth Martinez will start for the Sun Devils; however, his workload may be limited because of the action he saw in relief against USC over the weekend.
“No matter what, it’ll be a bit of a different start because of how many innings Seth pitched this weekend,” Esmay said. “It’ll probably be more of a staff Wednesday.”
UA announced it will send freshman righty Morgan Earman to the mound. It will be Earman’s third start of the season and his ninth appearence. Thus far, he has a 4.50 ERA in 2014, with 12 strikeouts in 16 innings.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. for the last Territorial Cup Series game played at Packard Stadium.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J15Emerson