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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball’s struggle continues as the Wildcats get swept by ASU

Danielle Main

Arizonas first basemen Kiko Romero watches the game against North Dakota State in the dugout on Friday, March 3 at Hi Corbett Field. Wildcats took the win 8-6. 

This past weekend, the Arizona baseball team took on ASU for a three-game series in Tempe. Arizona came away empty-handed, losing all three games, and has now lost six of their last seven games.

Game 1: Friday, March 24, at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after a trio of hits. Centerfielder Mac Bingham opened the game with a leadoff triple, and, two batters later, first baseman Kiko Romero drove him in with a single to right field. One batter later, second baseman Garen Caulfield singled up the middle and drove in left fielder Chase Davis, who walked earlier in the inning, to put the Wildcats up 2-0 early.

Arizona starting pitcher TJ Nichols got two quick outs to start the bottom of the first inning. After being hit by a pitch on a full count, Sun Devil catcher Ryan Campos took first. Nichols then gave up a 2-run homer to second baseman Luke Keaschall, knotting up the score at 2-2.

After two quick outs to start the third inning, ASU walked three straight to load the bases with Wildcats. Unfortunately, designated hitter Brendan Summerhill struck out swinging and stranded three runners. In the bottom of the third inning, Campos ripped a two-out double to put runners on second and third. Keaschall followed with a 3-run home run for his second of the game. ASU held a 5-2 lead after three innings.

The Wildcats were able to tack on a run in the fifth inning thanks to three straight singles by catcher Cameron LaLiberte, Caulfield and Summerhill, who drove in LaLiberte with his single. Following Summerhill’s single, the Wildcats still trailed 5-3.

After giving up 5 runs in the first three innings, Nichols was able to rebound and pitch two straight one-two-three innings in the fourth and fifth. Unfortunately, Nichols did not get help from his infield in the sixth inning, after an error led to another run for the Sun Devils. Ultimately, Nichols gave up five hits and 6 runs — 5 of them earned — during his six innings, but he did have seven strikeouts.

In the seventh inning, Caulfield hit his fourth homer of the season and added his third RBI of the game. However, the Wildcats still trailed 6-4 after seven. The Wildcat bullpen did its job to finish the game, pitching two scoreless innings and giving up only two hits while having three strikeouts.

The Wildcats entered the ninth inning trailing 6-4 and were looking to rally back. The Wildcats started the inning poorly with two quick outs. Romero kept the Wildcats’ hopes alive after clobbering his seventh homer of the season. Unfortunately, the Wildcats could not add another run and fell 6-5 in the opening game of the three-game series against the Sun Devils.


Game 2: Saturday, March 25, at 6 p.m.

Similarly to the first game, the Wildcats once again jumped out to an early lead. Catcher Tommy Splaine opened the second inning with a leadoff single, which was followed by a double from Caulfield. The Wildcats were in a prime position to score runs, as they had runners on second and third with no outs in the inning.

Third baseman Tony Bullard hit an infield single to load the bases for the Wildcats with zero outs. Following Bullard’s hit designated hitter Emilio Corona hit a sacrifice-fly to center field to bring Splaine home. One batter later, Bingham drove in both Caulfield and Bullard to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead early in game two.

Senior Tony Bullard walks through the dugout during game against North Dakota State on Friday, March 3 at Hi Corbett Field. Wildcats take the win 8-6. 
Senior Tony Bullard walks through the dugout during game against North Dakota State on Friday, March 3 at Hi Corbett Field. Wildcats take the win 8-6.

Sun Devil catcher Trey Newman opened the third inning with a leadoff double and scored following a double by third baseman Nu’u Contrades. Yet, the Wildcats still led 3-1 after three. ASU opened the fourth by loading the bases with the first three batters but stranded all three on base.

The Wildcats were unable to score again after their hot start, but they still led 3-1 after the first five innings. Unfortunately, everything went downhill in the sixth as the Sun Devils scored 5 runs to take a 6-3 lead. The inning started with two straight singles, followed by a sacrifice-bunt by Newman which scored the second run of the game for the Sun Devils. The sac-bunt was followed by a double by centerfielder Isaiah Jackson, which tied the game 3-3.

Following Jackson’s double, right fielder Wyatt Crenshaw was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on base with only one out. ASU then took the lead following a 3-run home run by Contrades. The Wildcats trailed 6-3 after six.

Both teams scored in the eighth inning. Arizona scored their first run since the second inning, thanks to an errant throw by ASU shortstop Luke Hill. The Wildcats now trailed 6-4, but the Sun Devils would quickly add a run of their own in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-double by Contrades. The Sun Devils’ third baseman racked up his fifth RBI in the game with his eighth-inning double.

The Wildcats failed to score in the ninth and fell once again 7-4.


Game 3: Sunday, March 26, at 4 p.m.

Unlike the first two games, the Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead. ASU racked up three straight hits to take an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. Following a flyout by Keaschall to start the inning, first baseman Jacob Tobias singled, followed by another single by Hill. Jackson put the Sun Devils on the board with an RBI-double down the left field line. Hill then scored the second run after Newman grounded-out.

The Wildcats quickly responded to their early deficit in the third inning. After a one-out walk by Bingham, shortstop Nik McClaughry singled, giving the Wildcats two runners on base with only one out. Davis then launched his eighth home run of the season to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead in the third inning.

The Wildcat lead did not last long, as ASU’s Crenshaw led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run to tie the game at 3-3. Tobias then followed with a sac-fly later in the inning, giving the Sun Devils a 4-3 lead. In the fourth inning, right fielder Kien Vu hit a solo home run to extend ASU’s lead to 5-3 after four.

The fifth inning saw more runs for ASU, as Contrades led off the inning with a solo home run to build a 6-3 lead. Tobias later hit another sac-fly, extending the lead to 7-3. Both the third and fifth innings were similar for ASU, featuring leadoff solo home runs and Tobias sac-flies.

ASU added 3 more runs in the sixth inning, extending their lead to 10-3. The Sun Devils scored runs in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings and were running away with the win and the series sweep.

Romero hit a 2-run double in the eighth to cut the ASU lead to 10-5. Romero scored later thanks to a sac-fly by Caulfield, but the Wildcats still trailed 10-6. Arizona was unable to add more runs in the ninth and fell to ASU 10-6.


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