Jake Peevyhouse's walk-off hit christens Territorial Cup at Phoenix Muni in common fashion for No. 5 ASU baseball

In a season where ASU baseball's series openers have been nail-biters, Saturday's walk-off started the Territorial Cup series in the Phoenix Muni era.

Another series opener, another nail-biting finish for No. 5 ASU baseball (22-9, 10-3 Pac-12). 

But this time, it was ASU's fifth walk-off of the season, base hit from senior Jake Peevyhouse to give the Sun Devils a 5-4 win and welcome rival Arizona (22-10, 7-6 Pac 12) to Phoenix Muni.

Rivalry games always bleed storylines. Saturday was no exception, doing more than just satisfying expectations. 

ASU's season-high 6,247 attendance was its highest attendance since amassing 9,387 fans against Arizona in 1982 at Packard Stadium. 

With one out, the bases loaded and a packed stadium crowd on its feet in the bottom of the ninth inning, Peevyhouse (3-for-5, 3 RBI, HR) delivered. The experienced outfielder remained focused after he saw a 3-0 count turn into a full count.

"I was just looking for something that I knew I could get in the air," Peevyhouse said. "He made two good pitches on the corner and ump gave it to him. He had to throw something over the dish, so I was just looking for something up."

ASU head coach Tracy Smith said it could have gone either way, which is always possible when playing big games. 

"You try to put yourself in a position to win a baseball game," he said. "They've all been (close) like that...we've been very fortunate to be on the positive side of it."

Video by Fabian Ardaya | Assistant Sports Editor

Although in an ever-important spot in a big game, Peevyhouse said he did not feel much pressure. 

"When you're in the moment like that, you don't really notice the crowd as much," he said. I feel like (the pitcher) was listening to the crowd more. I have to imagine he was nervous because all the pressure was on him. I had no pressure on me, he had to throw a strike because if he didn't, he was going to walk the winner in."

In addition, he hit his first home run in two years, a two-run shot to right that was almost robbed by Arizona right fielder Zach Gibbons. 

"It's definitely nice (to homer) against (Arizona)," Peevyhouse said. "In 2013, I was all pull, that wa the only thing I could do and now I'm able to spray the ball all over and I mean, I'll take this over home runs all day." 

The atmosphere at Phoenix Muni was the best of the season. Even prior to first pitch, one could feel fans getting antsy for the start of the Territorial Cup series. 

"It was awesome, I mean I couldn't have wanted a better atmosphere for this game," Peevyhouse said. "It was great to see everyone come out like that. 

Early in the game, ASU found itself down three runs. However, the art of the comeback is an aspect that is not foreign to this year's team, and it's composure when trailing prevailed once again. 

"We're never worried when we're down or whatever the situation is," Peevyhouse said. We know if we just play our game, we always have a chance. Coming back as much as we have this year, it's really easy to never get nervous or think you're not in the game—we always know we're in the game no matter what the score is."

Video by Fabian Ardaya | Assistant Sports Editor

Smith has said many times throughout the year that he does not say much when the team falls behind, mostly because he recognizes that its mature behavior will work wonders in that situation. 

"We prepare throughout the week to just do what we do and these guys do a really good job of just keeping on going," he said. "Didn't really say anything, but just kept playing baseball and we do a really good job of that."

ASU also continued its success in series openers. The Sun Devils are now 6-2 in them, with the only losses coming from then-No. 1 TCU and its ace Preston Morrison, and then Oregon State, which ASU took two of three from. 

After Saturday's win, ASU is now 11-5 in one-run games. 

The Sun Devils will look to pick up the series win as junior Ryan Kellogg takes the mound Sunday.

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

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