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Arizona baseball sweeps UCLA in historic fashion

Garen+Caulfield+rounds+the+bases+in+the+8th+inning+after+hitting+a+home+run+against+UCLA+at+Hi-Corbett+Field+on+March+28.+Caulfield+was+named+player+of+the+game+by+coach+Chip+Hale.
Giacomo Cain
Garen Caulfield rounds the bases in the 8th inning after hitting a home run against UCLA at Hi-Corbett Field on March 28. Caulfield was named player of the game by coach Chip Hale.

Arizona baseball played a three-game home series against UCLA from Thursday, March 28 to Saturday, March 30. The Wildcats aimed to bounce back after losing three out of their past four games. Arizona went on to sweep the Bruins, winning two games in extra innings and winning all three games courtesy of a walk-off hit.

Day 1: Thursday, March 28

Game 1: UCLA vs. Arizona at 7 p.m. 

UCLA’s offense wasted no time, opening the scoring in the top of the first inning. Cody Schrier kickstarted the momentum with a leadoff single, eventually scoring on a Roman Martin sacrifice fly. The Bruins extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning, thanks in part to Malakhi Knight’s aggressive baserunning and a timely RBI single from Daylen Reyes. However, the Wildcats clawed their way back into the game, fueled by the power of Garen Caulfield’s bat. Caulfield’s solo home run in the eighth inning ignited Arizona’s comeback, ultimately leading to a dramatic walk-off victory in the 10th inning. 

Brendan Summerhill played the hero with a towering 2-run blast that sailed onto the roof of the Terry Francona Hitting Center, sealing the win for Arizona. Despite UCLA’s efforts to regain the lead in the ninth and 10th innings, it was unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities due to Arizona’s pitching. Arizona starter Jackson Kent delivered a solid performance, striking out seven batters over 5.2 innings while limiting the Bruins to 3 runs. The Wildcats’ bullpen held firm, keeping UCLA off the scoreboard in the later innings, with Casey Hintz securing the win after two stellar frames. In a game filled with momentum swings and clutch plays, it was Arizona who emerged victorious, claiming the 5-3 win over UCLA to kick off the series.

Day 2: Friday, March 29

Game 2: UCLA vs. Arizona at 7 p.m.

On Friday night, the Wildcats celebrated a historic milestone, securing their 3,000th win in program history with a dramatic 3-2 walk-off victory over the Bruins. Right fielder Emilio Corona played the hero, delivering a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, sending Summerhill sprinting home for the winning run. This marked Arizona’s second consecutive walk-off win, following Summerhill’s 2-run blast in the previous night’s game. Starting pitcher Clark Candiotti was exceptional for the Wildcats, tossing a complete game gem with a career-high 12 strikeouts. Candiotti allowed just 2 runs, one earned, on four hits to earn his second win of the year. 

UCLA’s starter Michael Barnett also delivered a strong performance, allowing just 1 earned run on four hits over seven innings while striking out five. Arizona took an early lead with RBI groundouts from third baseman Richie Morales in the third and fifth innings. Martin provided timely hits for the Bruins, including a leadoff double in the eighth inning that sparked their comeback. Martin’s efforts helped UCLA erase a 2-0 deficit in the late innings, tying the game at 2-2 with a clutch RBI single in the ninth. The decisive ninth inning saw Arizona load the bases with nobody out, capitalizing on a leadoff walk and a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Corona’s sacrifice fly sealed the victory for the Wildcats, clinching the game win.

Day 3: Saturday, March 30 

Game 3: UCLA vs. Arizona at 1 p.m.

In a thrilling conclusion to their weekend series, the Wildcats secured a historic sweep over the UCLA Bruins with a dramatic 10-9 walk-off victory in the series finale at Hi Corbett Field. Shortstop Mason White emerged as the hero for Arizona, crushing a walk-off 2-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to seal the win. This marked the Wildcats’ third consecutive walk-off victory over UCLA. Arizona’s early offensive onslaught gave them a big lead early in the game, scoring in each of the first six innings to build its lead.

UCLA displayed remarkable resilience, battling back from an 8-2 deficit to tie the game late and even taking a brief lead with a single run in the top half of the 12th inning. However, its lead was short-lived as Arizona capitalized on a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt to set the stage for White’s game-winning blast. The Wildcats’ pitching staff showcased depth and resilience, utilizing a total of 10 pitchers throughout the contest. Starting pitcher Cam Walty delivered a solid performance with 4.0 innings of 1-run ball, while the bullpen held firm, with relievers like Tony Pluta and Dawson Netz making key contributions to secure the win. With the win, Arizona completed its first series sweep of the season and its first sweep over the Bruins since 2018, marking a historic weekend of baseball at Hi Corbett Field.

Looking ahead: 

The Wildcats will face the University of New Mexico on Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. in a standalone game at Hi Corbett Field.


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