When the Arizona State Sun Devils (33-15-1, 14-10) and Arizona Wildcats (29-20, 10-14) take the field this weekend, they will be playing for more than just baseball supremacy.
The Territorial Cup Series Trophy will also be handed out this weekend. The series matches both schools in 18 varsity sports throughout the season; through 20 contests, the schools are in a dead heat, tied at 8.5 points each.
Here is the breakdown of points so far:
- Men's Cross Country
- Women's Soccer
- Women's Basketball
- Women's Indoor Track & Field
- Women's Tennis
- Men's Golf
- Men's Track & Field
- Volleyball—split series
- Women's Cross Country
- Men's Basketball
- Men's Swimming & Diving
- Women's Swimming & Diving
- Women's Golf
- Women's Track & Field
- Volleyball—split series
To say that this baseball series is huge is selling it short—this is monumental.
Arizona is the defending National Champion, and the Wildcats were nearly flawless in the postseason, winning 10 straight en route to their fourth title. A program rich in tradition with 16 College World Series appearances has struggled in 2013, and a series loss would most likely end the Wildcats' three-year postseason streak.
The No. 13 Sun Devils, as ranked by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, need at least a series win but a sweep would go a long way toward ensuring that they secure a top-16 seed and host a NCAA Regional Tournament.
The teams split the first two non-conference games played in Tucson earlier this year, with the Sun Devils blowing an 8-2 lead in the first contest and eventually losing, 10-9. The Devils returned the favor two weeks later by erasing an early three-run deficit to win, 7-5.
The teams dominate the Pac-12 standings with Arizona leading in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, runs batted in, triples and walks. Arizona State leads the conference in slugging percentage, doubles, home runs and total bases.
The top-three individual conference leaders in runs scored, runs batted in, hits, triples and total bases are from one of the Arizona schools.
The pitching matchups are also intriguing, with Konner Wade (4-5, 4.38) taking the mound for Arizona against Arizona State's Trevor Williams (5-5, 3.59) on Friday.
The Pac-12's leader in wins, Ryan Kellogg (10-0, 3.36), will pitch on Saturday for the Sun Devils facing Arizona's James Farris (4-5, 4.20). Sunday's matinee features Tyler Crawford (5-2, 4.02) for the visiting Wildcats against Zak Miller (4-0, 4.28) defending the home field.
This weekend is rivalry weekend across the Pac-12 with the Civil War in Oregon claiming top billing. But don't overlook this heated matchup that will bring enough hitting and high scoring to heat up an already scorching desert landscape.