April 13, 2016
By; Brian Kreps – Contributing Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. – This was more than just another mid-week game for the Arizona State Sun Devils. And, it was more than just another mid-week start for senior pitcher Jordan Aboites. It was a start against the arch-rival Arizona Wildcats.
“It’s always good to beat those guys. It’s good to beat any team, but definitely a little bit sweeter taking it to them,” Aboites said.
Aboites did just that, pitching into the sixth inning, while holding the Wildcats to just four hits, two runs and striking out three. His performance was backed by seven runs of offense to help the Sun Devils (18-12, 4-8 in Pac-12) to a 7-5 win in game one of the Territorial Cup Series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in front of 2,649 fans in attendance.
“I thought he went out there and battled. I thought he ran out of gas in the fourth, but gave us another inning or so, gave us everything he had in the tank,” said Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith. “I was very proud of him for pounding the strike zone, and giving us a chance to win. We needed that from him. For him to go five plus, I think was the key for us to winning tonight.”
Not knowing he was going to get the start against the rival Wildcats might have been a benefit for Aboites (2-1).
“I didn’t know I was starting until today. I had an idea. I am just coming in and doing anything I can to help the team win,” Aboites said. “It’s definitely big. Setting the pace for the team is always fun. I’m glad I was able to go out there and contribute in that way.”
The Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning and two more in the second, taking a 4-0 lead. Aboites said that having the early lead made it easier for him.
“To have the run support early helped me stay relaxed, and go out there and do my thing without having to worry about a tie game,” Aboites said. “In any game, I just go about going through my routine that I do. I give myself about 30 minutes to warm up, not thinking about who were playing. Just focusing on what I need to do to get the “W”.” Aboites said. “I was commanding my fastball pretty good. Slider was pretty sharp. Those were the two pitches I worked off the most. The velocity was up to start the game, so that was definitely helping in backing up my slider.”
Arizona State added a solo run in the fourth to make it a 5-0 lead before the Wildcats scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning.
Arizona (20-13, 5-7) added a single run in the sixth inning, cutting into the deficit to 6-2. The Sun Devils responded in the bottom of the inning with a single run when junior David Greer blasted his third home run of the season, increasing their lead to 7-2.
In the eighth inning, the Wildcats pushed a single run across making the score 7-3. In the ninth inning, the Wildcats made things interesting by scoring two runs and having the tying run at the plate before sophomore Eli Lingos was able to get sophomore Jared Oliva to fly out to end the game.
For the Sun Devils, junior Colby Woodmansee had a two-hit, two-RBI performance to lead the offense.
Up next: The Sun Devils next host a three-game series with Cal starting Friday, April 15 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Territorial Cup Series continues when Arizona will again visit Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Tuesday, April 26 for a 7 p.m. game.