Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/27/12
Box score TUCSON, Ariz. -- Drama, drama, drama. What would the Arizona State-Arizona rivalry be without it? Certainly not as exciting as it's been through two games of the season-ending three-game series at Hi Corbett Field in front of back-to-back season-high crowds. Saturday night's game -- played in front of 5,677 fans, the most since 1980 -- saw ASU closer Jake Barrett escape a bases-loaded jam to give the Devils a 9-7 win and throw chaos into the Pac-12 race. "Its crazy how baseball works out," said ASU starter and eventual winner Trevor Williams. "There could be, what, a 10-way tie for first place? Everyone could win. Why not? Not exactly 10, but Williams point stands. There could be a four-way tie by the end of the day Sunday, depending on the results. One of the potential champions: Arizona State, a team not eligible for the NCAA tournament because of sanctions. Still, the title -- even if its only a share -- is still out there for the Sun Devils, who are 18-11 in conference play, one game behind current co- leaders UA, UCLA and Oregon (19-10). ASU has won 10 of its past 12 games. Its amazing," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. Its a credit to our team. Im really proud of them." Leading 9-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, Esmay turned to Barrett to finish things off after Williams had thrown eight strong innings. The night before, Barrett had given up a walk0off double that gave Arizona a dramatic 1-0 win. I woke up wanting to come out here and come after them, Barrett said. Although he didnt pick up the save, he did eventually close things out, getting Bobby Brown to strike out with the bases loaded and the count full. Barretts our guy, and hes been in that role all year long, Esmay said. Being a closer is not an easy thing. Youre always going to be in situations like that. Weve trusted in him all year long. "And what a big pitch he made to Brown." A big pitch that wasn't without drama, of course. So much so that when Esmay and UA coach Andy Lopez met near home plate for the postgame handshake, Lopez told him, "This is kind of fun. This is the way it should be." Esmay agreed. You have two very good teams, he said. It feels like a Super Regional. It has that atmosphere. Arizona is still hopeful that it will be able to host a tournament regional for the first since 1992 -- the same year UA last won a conference title. For a moment Saturday night, it looked as though UA would be in position to end that conference title drought by taking over sole possession of first place, an opportunity that came available when Oregon lost to Oregon State in the afternoon. But ASU had other ideas. The Sun Devils scored four runs in the top of the first inning and added three more in the fourth to take control early, and the Cats never caught up. "(Facing) UA is always big," said ASUs Andrew Aplin, who went 4 for 6 and had a three-run homer in the fourth. Thats no matter what the standings are. (Friday night) was a tough one. We both played really well. We came out with as much energy as we could. "(The first inning) was real big. After not scoring (Friday night), we wanted to try to put it on them early. We wanted to get some runs for Trevor, because if you get runs early, he usually holds it. Williams did his part, scattering 10 hits to earn his 12th win of the season. Hes now 12-2 after picking up his eighth win in nine starts (he had a no-decision in the other). "They made me pitch, Williams said of the Wildcats. They are a great team. They are going to get hits. This is my start where I really had to pitch. I had to bear down and get out of situations."
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