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The opponent’s view: Loss costs ASU Territorial Cup Series title, hurts regional host hopes

Here is game story on Arizona’s 7-6 win over Arizona State on Sunday, from the Arizona Republic, our Gannett partner. Related: Sport-by-sport breakdown of the Territorial Cup Series.

Arizona first baseman Joseph Maggi reacts after the game-ending double play. Photo by David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports

Arizona first baseman Joseph Maggi reacts after the game-ending double play. Photo by David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports

By Jeff Metcalfe
azcentral sports

Mighty Casey or Nathaniel Causey. Eventually, baseball humbles everyone.

A week after his two-out, ninth-inning grand slam to win a game, Arizona State’s Causey hit into a game-ending double play Sunday as rival Arizona escaped with a 7-6 win at Packard Stadium.

Defending national champion UA (31-21, 12-15 Pac-12) kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive by winning the series and, depending on who’s scoring, clinched the school’s fourth overall Territorial Cup Series title. The Wildcats won three of five baseball games over the Sun Devils this season.

Arizona leads 9.5 points to 8.5 in the series by rules put in place for the first three years, when State Farm was the Territorial Cup title sponsor. ASU now counts men’s indoor track and says the series is tied at 9.5 apiece. The first tiebreaker is Directors’ Cup standings, with UA currently holding a 125-point edge over ASU.

What hurts more for No. 15 ASU (34-17-1, 15-12) is that its chances of hosting a NCAA regional are slipping away, if not already gone. The Sun Devils have four games remaining: at home Tuesday against BYU (30-19) and an away series against Washington (22-31, 13-14).

“It’s frustrating and disappointing,” ASU coach Tim Esmay said of not scoring in the eighth or ninth with the bases loaded. “It’s unfortunate. Obviously, this doesn’t help us (for hosting). We’ll see how that plays out. Obviously, we’ve got to play good this week.”

UA’s Brandon Dixon drove in what proved to be the winning run with a two-out single to left center in the top of the eighth.

Tyler Crawford (6-2) walked ASU’s Max Rossiter leading off the eighth and sent him to second on a wild pitch. Causey popped out and Trever Allen grounded out to the right side before reliever Mathew Troupe walked two in a row. Jake Peevyhouse slammed his helmet after a grounder to first baseman Joseph Maggi, who made a throw in time to pitcher Augie Bill.

Bill was in trouble from the start in the ninth. Kasey Coffman led off with a single and Michael Benjamin beat out a bunt when Bill hesitated on the throw. James McDonald also bunted but down the first-base line, giving Maggi time to throw out the lead runner at third. Rossiter walked, loading the bases, then on a 0-1 pitch, Causey grounded to a surprised Bill, who threw home for a force with the relay to first ending the closest Territorial Cup Series yet.

UA won the series 12.5-5.5 in 2011-12, 11.5-6.5 in 2010-11 and 10.5-7.5 in 2009-10.

ASU led 4-2, trailed 5-4 and led 6-5 before the Wildcats scored the final two runs. UA left fielder Cody Ramer made a diving catch to save a run in the fourth, and Crawford limited the Sun Devils to one hit from the fifth through seventh innings.

ASU shortstop Drew Stankiewicz committed two errors for four in the series.

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