Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/22/12
The Territorial Cup spotlight typically shines brightest on the basketball and football matchups between Arizona State and Arizona, but the most consistently competitive rivalry game tends be played on a diamond. Perennial Women's College World Series contenders UA and ASU will go head to head in Tempe this weekend in a three-game series that starts Friday and will feature all three games webcast live on FOXSportsArizona.com. ASU coach Clint Myers knows the atmosphere will be as charged as ever. "It's Arizona," Myers said. "No matter what we're playing -- golf, tennis, checkers, baseball -- it doesn't matter. UA and ASU have got a great rivalry that dates back an awful long time." The Wildcats (19-5) come to Tempe ranked No. 1413 as Pac-12 Conference play begins, while the Sun Devils (28-3) sit at No. 56. Myers has always divided his seasons into three parts, the first being nonconference play, the second conference play and the third postseason play. The latter is an expectation for the Sun Devils, though not a guarantee. Entering the weekend with just one loss in the past 25 games, Myers is pleased with how the first part of the season went but says his team knows it must elevate its play starting Friday night. "I thought the first part was really a lot of trying to put everything together, freshmen getting used to playing college ball and everyone coming together as a team," Myers said. "Now we're all enthused to get ready for that last third so that we are playing our best softball at the very end. "The Pac-12 is a great conference, and every single game we're going to play a great team." UA got its week started Wednesday night in a doubleheader with New Mexico State that the two teams split. The Wildcats lost all three meetings with the Sun Devils in Tucson last season, and ASU went on to win its second WCWS title in four years. Both teams have shown this year that they are still among the nation's elite on offense, as ASU currently ranks fourth in Division I at 7.77 runs per game and UA ninth at 6.86. Accordingly, it will be up to both teams' pitchers to limit the damage. Myers said he plans to send sophomore Dallas Escobedo (10-2, 2.47 ERA) to the circle for Friday's series opener. Senior Hillary Bach (13-0, 0.57) will get the call Saturday, and Sunday's starter is yet to be determined. Bach has been dominant so far after pitching in a reduced role last season; her 0.57 ERA leads the Pac-12 while ranking third in the nation. She's allowed just seven runs, six earned, in 73 13 innings, but Myers said her resurgence hasn't surprised him. "We knew that Hilary was a great pitcher when we recruited her," Myers said. "She's having fun, she's pitching well and things are kind of just going her way." The Wildcats likely will answer with some combination of junior Kenzie Fowler (9-1, 1.95) and sophomore Shelby Babcock (9-4. 1.91). All three games can be seen on FOXSportsArizona.com, starting with Friday's 7 p.m. opener. First pitch Saturday also comes at 7 p.m., while Sunday's finale begins at noon.
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