Sun Devils smack Wildcats 14-6 behind 10-run sixth inning

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- In a special Wednesday afternoon Territorial Cup battle, the Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the University of Arizona Wildcats by a score of 14-6.

The key to the victory for the Sun Devils (13-10, 4-3 Pac-12) was offensive resiliency, as the team recording 13 runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Their season-high 14 runs and 14 hits was plenty to hand the Wildcats (11-16, 1-5) their seventh consecutive loss.

Arizona State right-hander Seth Martinez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) threw 4.1 innings in his second start this season and first Territorial Cup contest. Martinez gave up five hits, five runs and one walk while striking out one.

The Wildcats started the scoring in the top of the second on a pair of RBI singles. The Sun Devils would register one run in the bottom of the frame when catcher Brian Serven doubled to left field, scoring Jake Peevyhouse. The top of the fourth saw Arizona second baseman Trent Gilbert launch a solo home run, increasing the lead to 3-1 Wildcats. 

Martinez exited the game in the fifth inning after three more Wildcat runs made the score 6-1. Right-hander Eric Melbostad loaded the bases with one out, and was replaced by right-hander Jordan Aboites, who induced an inning ending double play. Aboites (3-1, 2.45) went on to pitch two more innings, allowing no hits or runs and striking out two on the way to the win.

The Arizona State bats came alive in the fifth and sixth innings. Led by the bottom of the order, the Sun Devils scored three times on four hits in the bottom of the fifth, with help from a wild pitch, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by center fielder Johnny Sewald. The hot bats did not cool an inning later, as ASU tacked on ten more runs en route to a 14-6 win.

“It was a tale of two games,” said head coach Tim Esmay on how the fifth inning sparked the Sun Devil comeback. “Everything they’re hitting is falling, we’re hitting some balls early in the game and they’re right at people,” Esmay said. “And all of a sudden, boom. We go back and have great at-bats and respond in that [fifth] inning.”

The offensive leaders for the Sun Devils were right fielder Peevyhouse (2-for-3, 3 runs), catcher Brian Serven (2-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) and first baseman Nathaniel Causey (4-for-5). Causey is now batting .415 (27-for-65) since returning from injury.

Though the game started off slow for the Devils, Aboites said the team never lost the forward progress they gained after taking two of three games at No. 4 Oregon State. 

“Coming off that, we came into this game confident and expecting to win,” said Aboites. “Midweek games can be a drag at times. I think it was huge to take this [game] and take this momentum into UCLA.”

This was the first time the Sun Devils have notched 10 runs in an inning since they scored 13 in the ninth against the Wildcats on April 29, 2009.

Next up for the Sun Devils is a three-game road series against the defending national champions and fourteenth-ranked UCLA Bruins (15-8, 5-1). First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m.