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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Gaston, baseball beat ASU”

    Arizona right fielder Jon Gaston is congratulated by closer Daniel Schlereth when scoring a run shortly after belting a triple to the right field wall. Gaston, who was named the games MVP, and the Wildcats got their revenge on No. 16 ASU, 6-5.
    Arizona right fielder Jon Gaston is congratulated by closer Daniel Schlereth when scoring a run shortly after belting a triple to the right field wall. Gaston, who was named the game’s MVP, and the Wildcats got their revenge on No. 16 ASU, 6-5.

    PHOENIX – Jon Gaston didn’t forget. He was embarrassed by his team’s 22-8 loss to ASU in late February.

    Last night, the right fielder did more than his share to erase that memory, driving in three runs, including two on a triple off the wall in the fourth inning as the Arizona baseball team (22-6) downed the No. 16 Sun Devils (21-9), 6-5, at the second annual Challenge at Chase.

    “”I honestly thought it was out (of the park),”” Gaston said of his triple. “”I actually had a little bit of a trot going on and then as soon as the umpire said it didn’t go over, I just kicked it into fifth gear and just trucked around to third base.

    “”I was looking for a big hit and I just came through at the right time,”” he added. “”That’s what I’ve been looking for all season and it’s coming together right now.””

    Gaston, who went 2-for-3, was named Most Valuable Player of the game for his efforts.

    Down 1-0, Arizona tied it in the fourth on center fielder T.J. Steele’s bases-loaded groundout and took the lead a batter later on Gaston’s triple to go up 3-1.

    Arizona then added to its lead in the sixth with three runs coming on four consecutive singles, including a two-run liner to right from Gaston.

    “”I mean we’re down 1-0 … our pitching can handle things like that, so I knew we’d be OK,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”It was just a matter of getting that big hit and Jon did that for us, and then did it again later in the ball game.””

    The two in-state rivals won’t meet again until May 23-25 in Tempe.

    “”Twenty-two to God knows what,”” Gaston said of the Feb. 27 loss. “”It was a little embarrassing last time, so we strapped it on today and we got it done.””

    With two out and one run across in the seventh, ASU took advantage of first baseman C.J. Ziegler’s defensive gaffe.

    Playing in the field for the first time in his Wildcat career, Ziegler took off to his right in an attempt to field ASU shortstop Andrew Romine’s ground ball. But UA second baseman Colt Sedbrook picked up the ball and no one was covering first base, allowing ASU first baseman Matt Spencer to come around from second to cut the lead to 6-3.

    Two batters later, Sun Devil second baseman Eric Sogard singled to right to plate two more and narrow the Wildcat advantage even further at 6-5.

    “”We both went after it and he called me off, so I let it go,”” Ziegler said. “”There was communication, it was fine. I guess (UA pitcher Cory) Burns just couldn’t get over there (to cover first).””

    After Arizona took the lead in the fourth, the Sun Devils twice loaded the bases, but twice failed to have anything to show for it. In the fifth, righty Jason Stoffel sat the next three batters down swinging, and an inning later, Burns relieved Stoffel to get ASU designated hitter Petey Paramore to ground out to second and end the threat.

    The freshman Stoffel (2-0) picked up the win, giving up four hits and no runs in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

    Right-hander Ryan Perry made his third start of the year since returning from an injury to his non-throwing arm.

    Slated for only 50 pitches, Perry went 49, hitting the mark against the second batter he faced in the fourth inning before he was replaced by Stoffel.

    Officially, the right-hander went 3 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and one earned run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

    Lopez said Perry’s arm still isn’t fully up to strength.

    “”It’s coming along, it’s definitely coming along,”” he said. “”(Perry) showed some great signs tonight, but it’s taking a little longer than I thought it would.””

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