Arizona Softball's 3-2 loss Friday night to UCLA in Game 2 of their NCAA Super Regional, ended the Wildcats season but also officially brought the 2017-18 Territorial Cup Series to an end in the UA's favor.
Arizona wins back the Cup trophy by a count of 11-10 over the rival Sun Devils. It's the Wildcats first non-contested win in the annual all-sports series since 2012.
The two athletics departments compete currently for points in 21 sports. The first program to reach 11 points, wins.
The Wildcats reached that 11th win on May 19 when the baseball team defeated ASU 10-9 in dramatic fashion at Hi Corbett Field however the series was still in doubt as their remained a slim chance the Wildcats and Sun Devils could have met again in softball in the Women’s College World Series championship.
A second meeting could have potentially changed the outcome of the softball point that the Wildcats won thanks to their series victory in Tempe in April.
Arizona did not advance to the WCWS but ASU did as the Sun Devils swept South Carolina in the Tempe Super Regional.
UA last won the Cup in 2013, a year that remains under dispute between the two athletic programs as ASU claimed a point for men’s indoor track and field, which was not originally a sport counted in the series.
Claiming the point allowed the Sun Devils to tie the series 9.5-to-9.5 and win based on the tie-breaker, which is standing in the Learfield Director’s Cup (ASU-18th, UA-23rd).
Thus the Wildcats last true victory in the rivalry series was 2012 when they held a 12.5-to-5.5-point advantage over the Sun Devils.
Last year the Wildcats lost the Cup Series 10.5-to-9.5 thanks in part to a horrible showing by the men’s outdoor track and field team at the Pac-12 Championships.
It was a Cup point UA was expected to win but instead lost by one.
This year UA secured that point as well as wins in men’s indoor track and field and men’s cross country, two sports that have been largely ruled by the Sun Devils.
Those three wins in the running sports offset the Sun Devils taking the women’s swimming point for the first time ever in the series and the men's swimming point for a second straight year.
The pool had been an early stronghold for the Wildcats in the series but the Cats have slipped due to their recent transition in leadership.
The baseball victory was much needed as a loss Saturday night would have allowed the Sun Devils to tie the series and ASU (36th) currently has a sizable lead over UA (61st) in this year’s Directors’ Cup.
Under the original rules, Arizona now leads the all-time rivalry battle 5-4. The Wildcats won the first four years of the series (including the disputed 2012-13 year) while Arizona State won the next four.
The competition initially began with 18 sports but has now morphed to 21 with the additions of men's indoor track and field (2014), beach volleyball (2014) and men's tennis (2018).
The 2017-18 series played out like this (all-time UA series records, W-L-T):
Women’s Volleyball (4-0-5)
Women’s Cross Country (6-3)
Men’s Cross Country (2-7)
Women’s Soccer (4-5)
Men’s Basketball (5-0-4)
Men’s Indoor Track and Field (1-4)
Softball (still potentially in play) (5-4)
Women’s Golf (8-1)
Men’s Outdoor Track and Field (3-6)
Beach Volleyball (3-1-1)
Arizona State (10)
Women’s Basketball (0-6-3)
Women’s Gymnastics (5-3-1)
Women’s Swimming and Diving (8-1)
Men’s Swimming and Diving (7-2)
Women’s Indoor Track and Field (3-6)
Women’s Tennis (2-7)
Men’s Tennis (0-1)
Men’s Golf (2-7)
Women’s Outdoor Track and Field (3-6)
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