Arizona Wildcats coach Andy Lopez joked this season that closer Mat Troupe has almost driven him to start smoking cigarettes and has cost him valuable hours of sleep.
After Tuesday, Lopez may have been up all night with a pack of Marlboro Lights in his pocket.
Troupe, a sophomore closer, entered the top of the eighth with the UA locked in a 5-5 tie with Arizona State. He threw nine pitches; eight going for balls and the one strike was an infield single.
He tossed in a wild pitch, and the result was a 7-5 win for the Sun Devils (29-12-1) in a nonconference matchup at Hi Corbett Field on Tuesday night.
Lopez, who hasn't smoked a cigarette in his life, certainly kept his streak alive Tuesday, but was disappointed with the loss.
And as he pointed out, it wasn't just Troupe. The five Wildcats pitchers - Tyger Talley, Cody Moffett, Tyler Hale, Augey Bill and Troupe - combined for eight walks and hit five batters.
"We did not deserve to win this game with (eight) walks and five hit batsmen," Lopez said. "You can not defend walks and hit by pitches, so it would have been just short of a miracle to see us come out on top tonight.
"We did not pitch well."
Troupe came on with two on and two out and gave up an infield single to R.J. Ybarra to load the bases.
A wild pitch to the next batter, Trever Allen, scored a run to give ASU a 6-5 lead. Troupe then walked Allen to load the bases again and followed that up with a four-pitch walk to Dalton Dinatale to surrender another run and give the Sun Devils a two-run lead.
The two runs were charged to Hale, who exited after three innings pitched and leaving two on.
Troupe has had a few shaky moments here and there this season, but sports a 2.48 ERA and has nine saves. In other words, even though he's known to make it interesting, Tuesday's outing was out of character.
"He was just a small microcosm of what we did on the mound tonight," Lopez said about Troupe. "We were just atrocious."
It was the second thriller the two teams have played this season. The Wildcats stole a 10-9 win over the Sun Devils in April after trailing 8-2. This time, ASU came back to earn the win and even the season series at one.
The two squads will hook up later this month in Tempe for a three-game conference series.
"I can't wait to go up there and play them again," said catcher Riley Moore, who finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs. "The home games have been fun, but it will be great to go up there and play them in a conference series.
"The two close games show we're two pretty even teams."
The Wildcats (28-15) scored three in the first to take an early lead on the Sun Devils (29-12-1), but gave it back over the next two innings and trailed 4-3 after three.
Arizona jumped back out in front in the fifth when Moore connected for a two-out, two-run single to make it 5-4. ASU tied it up in the next inning, scoring a run off Hale and then took the lead for good in the eighth.
"It was a tough, close game - back and forth," said second baseman Trent Gilbert who was 4 for 5 with two runs scored. "Obviously with ASU every time they come out, we want to beat those guys, but it just came down to us not playing very good baseball and giving them a lot of runners and making a couple mistakes here and there.
"You can't be doing that stuff if you want to win."
The Wildcats return to action Friday night at Hi Corbett against Washington at 6 p.m.
Junior Konner Wade will get the start.
On StarNet: See more photos from the game at azstarnet.com/gallery
• What: Washington at Arizona, three-game series
• Where: Hi Corbett Field
• Schedule: Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at noon
• Radio: All games on 1290-AM
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk