Wildcats Hold Off #16 Arizona State to Close Series
"It's a great win for our program," Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. "Any time you beat a team of this caliber, it's definitely a step in the right direction."
The Sun Devils lent B-CU a hand, as the Wildcats were patient in their early at-bats, with ASU starter Darin Gillies walking the first five batters of the second inning and throwing a pair of wild pitches before giving way to reliever Alex Blackford, granting B-CU a 5-0 lead before the Wildcats tacked their first hit on the board.
Much like the first two games of the series, ASU responded offensively in the bottom half, but the damage was well-contained by the Wildcats' defense, limited to a single run scored on Drew Stankiewicz' RBI double to left center.
The Wildcats pushed the lead back out to five in the top of the third, as C. Biocic sets the stage by capping a line drive triple down the right foul line, beating the tag at third after being knocked from his feet during a collision with the shortstop. He went on to score on McCarty's sacrifice fly to center.
A left field fly ball lost in the sun allowed an RBI double for James McDonald in the bottom of the third, bringing the score to 6-2.
The Sun Devils went on to hold the Wildcats scoreless over the next two frames, while narrowing the gap with a two-run Michael Benjamin single fired back at B-CU starter Scott Garner.
The Wildcats countered in the sixth as P. Biocic reached base on balls, advancing to third after a wild pitch and a groundout. Using an RBI single through the left side, freshman C. Biocic sent his older brother home to claim the 7-4 lead with B-CU's final run.
In the bottom of the seventh, a deep Max Rossiter double took a high hop off the turf for the ground rule, granting two more runs for ASU, while narrowing the B-CU advantage to just one run.
Facing a jam, Coach Beverlin turned to senior closer Jordan Dailey, who did not disappoint, collecting the key final strikeout in the seventh to stop the Sun Devils' surge. Dailey held strong for the Wildcats through the next two frames, allowing just two hits and securing B-CU's first victory of the season, aided by strong play from the Wildcats' infield.
In a tense final play, Nick Causey made contact to put the ball deep in the first base pocket. P. Biocic scooped it up and made the choice to hit the relay at shortstop with McCarty, who put the ball on target for Noble's tag at third on pinch runner Kyle Bilbrey.
With over 80 local newly-earned Wildcats fans on hand to check out the play of McCarty, a Camp Verde, Ariz. native, a great cheer came from the first base stands, as the junior transfer made the most crucial assist of the game, in addition to his RBI early in the game.
"Any time you're on the road against a team like this, you know they're going to put a charge in at some point," Beverlin said. "We did a good job. Jordan [Dailey] came in and shut the door."
Garner (1-0) earned his first win of the season, striking out six Sun Devils batters, walking one, while allowing five earned runs. Dailey earned his first save of the year.
With the win, B-CU moves to 1-2 on the season, and a matching record in the series. This is the first win over a top-25 team since 2011 (Auburn, No. 25) and the highest-ranked opponent defeated since winning the Miami (No. 15) series, 2-1, in 2009.
"I'm proud of our guys for sticking with it all weekend and playing hard; playing aggressive," Beverlin said.
The Wildcats return to Daytona Beach on Monday and get back to the slate on Tuesday (Feb. 19), facing North Florida (2-1) in the 2013 home opener at 6 p.m. FIU (3-0) will also travel to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Wednesday (Feb. 20) for a 6 p.m. matchup.
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