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Baseball wins fourth straight over UA

Koby Gray Upchurch/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Take Back The Night
Koby Gray Upchurch/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Take Back The Night

TUCSON - UA wanted Tuesday night’s final Territorial Cup game bad.

So bad that coach Andy Lopez threw his ace, sophomore Kurt Heyer, instead of resting him for the weekend’s Pac-10 series.

But the ASU baseball team didn’t get the memo.

The red-hot No. 7 Sun Devils (29-9, 11-4 Pac-10) had just enough to squeeze out a 4-3 victory over the archrival Wildcats (24-16, 6-9 Pac-10).

The win is ASU’s seventh consecutive overall and the fourth straight victory over UA.

“Facing a guy of Heyer’s quality definitely ups the ante a bit,” ASU coach Tim Esmay said. “Those are the guys you are going to see in the regionals and the super regionals.”

The team only managed to scrape across two runs on six hits in the last meeting against Heyer, a 5-2 UA victory.

This time around, the Sun Devils fared much better against the Wildcat ace.

ASU struck three times in the second inning thanks to a two-run double off the bat of senior catcher Xorge Carrillo, followed by a RBI single from junior Andy Workman.

“Everyday I’m starting to get a little more comfortable,” Carrillo said. “Every time I get a chance I try to make the most of it.”

UA answered back in its half of the frame with two runs of its own on three hits.

The two teams exchanged single scores in the fifth with ASU getting its run on a RBI groundout from junior third baseman Riccio Torrez and UA manufacturing a run with a sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats chased junior starter Kyle Ottoson out of the game after the score, but sophomore reliever Alex Blackford retired UA sophomore right fielder Robert Refsnyder with runners on first and third to end the threat.

Heyer (6-3) left after the sixth inning, throwing 104 pitches and giving up four runs on nine hits.

Blackford (4-0) retired all eight batters he faced before ASU freshman reliever Trevor Williams took over in the eighth.

“It’s unbelievably fun to pitch here,” said Blackford, who also received the win on April 5 against UA. “I didn’t see much of the mound as a freshman, but now I feel like they have a lot of confidence in me. It’s a feeling where no matter what happens out there, it’s going to be okay.”

Williams recorded two outs in the ninth before junior Mitchell Lambson came out for the final batter.

The junior closer allowed a double to put the tying run in scoring position, but got UA sophomore shortstop Alex Mejia to ground out to end the game and earn Lambson the one-out save.

“Lambson needed to get out there and throw,” Esmay said. “He hadn’t been out there since Thursday and it was his regular day to throw bullpen anyways.”

ASU gave regular starters junior Johnny Ruettiger and senior Matt Newman the day off to rest them for the weekend series against No. 25 Stanford in Tempe.

“It keeps them fresh,” Esmay said. “It worked out good, especially for this time of year. And then we get the win against their Friday starter. Not a bad Tuesday night for us.”

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