ASU baseball gets set to host Arizona midweek

ASU currently leads the Wildcats 7.5 to 5.5 in the Territorial Cup series.

ASU baseball has lacked consistency throughout the first part of Pac-12 play, winning just one of its four conference series. That lone series win was over Washington State, which is at the bottom of the standings after this past weekend. 

But rivalry games tend to be a different story and can often spark a team, which is an opportunity that awaits ASU (17-12, 4-8 Pac-12) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts Arizona. 

The game will be the first of this season's Territorial Cup baseball best of five series. ASU leads Arizona 7.5 to 5.5 in the overall series in which a school needs 10.5 total points to win that year. The Sun Devils will travel to Tucson on April 26 for a midweek game, and then May 13-15 for a weekend slate. 

Arizona (20-12, 5-7) enters the game after taking two of three over Washington State. Last season, ASU took three of five from the Wildcats, including two of three at home in the annual weekend series. 

Junior shortstop Colby Woodmansee leads the Sun Devils with a .354 batting average, 25 RBIs, 11 doubles and four home runs. 

"Obviously a rivalry is always fun to play in," Woodmansee said. "The buzz in the stadium is a little bit more, more fans show up, there's a little bit more intensity in the game. It's always a fun game to play, and since we play them five times a year, they're always fun to play (in Tucson), (Phoenix), both places are pretty fun."

Woodmansee said senior Jake Peevyhouse's walk-off single to christen the Territorial Cup at Phoenix Municipal last year was his favorite moment of last season's series against the Wildcats. 

Additionally, junior first baseman David Greer is batting .345 with 11 doubles of his own and 20 RBIs. Another solid performer has been sophomore second baseman Andrew Snow, who has been hitting in the leadoff hole lately. He is batting .302 with 13 RBIs and has drawn nine walks. 

Arizona's Cody Ramer is batting .364 with eight doubles, five triples, a home run and 23 RBIs. Additionally,  Ryan Aguilar has a .325 batting average with nine doubles and 25 RBIs, and Zach Gibbons has driven in 19 runs of his own while batting .351. 

Wildcats standout third baseman and pitcher Bobby Dalbec is only batting .229 thus far, but has six doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs. 

ASU is 2-2 in midweek games this year, with its wins coming in impressive fashion on the road at then-No. 23 Cal State Fullerton, but its losses being at home. 

Following Sunday's 6-1 loss to Washington, head coach Tracy Smith acknowledged that the team isn't playing with the consistency needed to win in the Pac-12. 

The expectation is to win two of three games in a weekend series, Smith said. That standard may seem like a bit of a stretch for a group that lost two of three weekend starters and all three starting outfielders from last season, but he said it's certainly realistic. 

"I don't think it's a lack of guys trying, I don't think it's guys not working hard, it's just not happening," Smith said. "We've got enough talent in that room to figure out a way to piece together two games on a weekend minimum, and we've just got to find a way to do that." 

"I don't know that we have a World Series championship team sitting in that locker room, but I think we've got a team that has enough to win two games a weekend ... Going forward, there's a lot of baseball season left, a lot of conference games, and we can do that."

Related links:

ASU baseball's inconsistency reflected in rain-delayed rubber match

ASU baseball evens series behind 2-run home runs


Reach the reporter at Justin.Toscano@asu.edu or on Twitter @justintoscano3.

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