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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball team blown out in home opener against Grand Canyon

Ari Koslow

Arizona catcher Daniel Susac waits for a pitch in the baseball team’s home opener against Grand Canyon University on Feb. 22. 

Riding high off a sweep of the State Farm College Baseball Showdown this past weekend, the Arizona baseball team returned to Tucson where they took on Grand Canyon University in the home opener in Hi Corbett Field on Tuesday night. It is safe to say it was a game to forget for the Wildcats as they fell 19-3 against the Antelopes en-route to their first loss of the season. 

“[Grand Canyon] played really well and they’re a good team,” Arizona head coach Chip Hale said. “They are well-coached and pitching, hitting and fielding. We just didn’t do it tonight and they took us out of the game early.”

Freshman Eric Orloff made his debut on the mound for Arizona. After scoring 1 run on a safety squeeze bunt in the first inning, GCU plated 3 more runs in the second inning off an error and a number of hits. 

Orloff lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing 4 runs (one earned) on five hits with one walk and one strikeout. It was an unlucky debut for Orloff, as two throwing errors by first baseman Noah Turley resulted in 3 of the 4 runs being unearned. On both plays, Orloff threw to first base as the runner was stealing second and Turley threw the ball into the outfield trying to throw the runner out at the second base. 

After combining to commit just one error in the three games this past weekend, the Wildcats committed six errors against GCU, the most they have committed in a game since March 5, 2019, against Michigan State University when they also committed six errors. 

The Wildcats were looking to slowly chip their way back into the game, scoring 1 run to get on the board in the fifth inning. However, the Antelopes hitters blew the game wide open the next two innings combining to score 9 runs in the sixth and seventh frames that included a grand slam. 

RELATED: Key stats from Arizona baseball’s win against Texas Tech

Orloff wasn’t the only Arizona pitcher to make his debut for the Wildcats. There were seven pitchers in total who took the mound for the Wildcats’ and five of them were making their collegiate debut for the Wildcats.  

Out of that group, the lone bright spot and one of the lone bright spots for the entire team on the night was freshman Javyn Pimental, a relief pitcher who redshirted last season with Arizona. He was able to toss two hitless innings before his third inning of work began with an error, walk, hit batter and a bases-loaded walk when he was taken out of the game. Junior Chris Barraza took over at that point, surrendering a grand slam with all three runners on base being charged to Pimental. 

It remains an experimental process in these Tuesday games for Arizona where none of the starters who pitched the past weekend are going to take the mound.

“We knew that this was going to be a situation where we are going to try and see what we can do on these Tuesday games,” Hale said. “Those guys that pitched tonight are going to have to pitch again and they’re going to have to pitch better.”

Offensively, Daniel Susac collected three of the Wildcats’ five hits. Tanner O’Tremba hit a 2-run single in the seventh inning. Nik McClaughry picked up the other hit and that was it for Arizona’s offense. 

As they look to rebound, the Wildcats will be starting a four-game series against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. PST in Hi Corbett Field. Anthony Susac will be on the mound. 

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