That’s how you introduce yourself to a rivalry.
The Arizona Wildcats baseball team beat #1 ASU Tuesday night by a score of 4-2 to snap the Sun Devils’ 28-game home winning streak, and get the UA’s week of top-10 action off to an impressive start.
It was a night of surprises for the Cats. Freshman Cory Bernard (who had a key pinch-hit single in the WSU comeback) was scheduled to make his first career start on the mound but injured his arm during warm-ups. Andy Lopez was forced to dust off Daniel Workman for his first appearance in a month.
How do you think that turned out? How about 6 1/3 strong innings, holding the top-ranked team in the land to two runs and five hits without issuing a walk?
Then you turn the game over to Bryce Bandilla, a guy who just lost his spot in the starting rotation due to his near-5 ERA. What do you think happened? An inning-and-two-thirds of shutout ball, naturally.
But you’ve got to finish the game, and we know all about this team’s lack of a reliable closer. The result? Freshmen Augey Bill and Nick Cunningham combine to pitch a hitless ninth to seal the deal.
When you haven’t won on a particular field in three years you don’t have high expectations. When you’re facing a team that is 22-0 on said field, and you’re starting six guys who have never played said team on said field, you don’t have any expectations.
Surprise! The New Cats are undefeated against ASU.
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On to the Pac-10 results from last weekend!
ARIZONA won all three vs. WSU. Scores: 5-3, 13-6, 12-11
Blow a three-run lead in the 9th against the Ducks; overcome a three-run deficit in the 9th against the Cougars. Leaving a UA game early is not advised.
ASU won all three vs. USC.
Scores: 5-4, 5-3, 14-6
The Devils took care of business at home, but for some reason I think they’re going to be in trouble against Arizona on Tuesday.
Cal won two of three vs. Washington. Scores: 3-7, 3-2, 9-7
The Bears did what they had to do to stay in the championship discussion. Now we’ll find out what they’ve really got.
Stanford won all three at OSU. Scores: 14-6, 5-3 (10 inn.), 10-7
Wow. The Cardinal got the statement it was looking for. The Beavers got crossed off the list of contenders.
Oregon won two of three at UCLA. Scores: 5-4, 8-4, 1-5
Wow, part 2. The Bruins were 21-0 heading into Pac-10 play. They’re 6-5 since.
Three sweeps in the five series and all three of the sweepers look good in the standings:
The top two teams and the last team stayed put but everyone else moved. Will the deck get shuffled again this week?
Time for the rankings, plus a new-new stat!
BAS = Baseball America
COL = Collegiate Baseball
NAT = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
USA = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll
RIV = Rivals.com
CBCRDI = College Baseball Cumulative Rankings Directional Indicator
The new stat is called the “average ranking” (sometimes it’s OK to go with the obvious). You get a 31 if you’re not ranked in a particular poll and then you take the average of the five rankings. Now instead of saying Arizona is ranked #17/18/16/17/15 you can say the Cats are ranked #16.6. I am here to serve.
Oregon tied the CBCRDI record with a 40-point jump. Their cross-state rivals set the plummet mark with their 48-point freefall. ASU posted a perfect score for the second time in three weeks.
But on Tuesday the perfect score was 4-2.