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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball’s slump continues after being swept at home against Oregon

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Danielle Main

Cameron Laliberte catching during game against North Dakota State Friday, March 3 at Hi Corbett Field. Wildcats took the win 8-6. 

The Arizona baseball team hosted the University of Oregon for a three-game series this past weekend. The Wildcats lost all three games against the Ducks and were outscored 36-19 over the three games played. The Wildcats started the season 12-3 (3-0 in Pac-12 play), but have gone 2-9 in their last 11 games, including nine straight losses against Pac-12 opponents. Arizona now holds a record of 14-12 (3-9 in Pac-12 play).

Game 1: Friday, March 31, at 6 p.m.

In the series opener, the Wildcats fell behind early after an ugly first two innings. Wildcats starting pitcher TJ Nichols lasted only 1.1 innings after giving up eight runs within the first five outs of the ball game. As the Wildcats prepared to bat in the bottom of the second, they were already down 8-0.

After center fielder Chase Davis opened the inning with a leadoff walk, catcher Cameron LaLiberte doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Following the double, second baseman Garen Caulfield drove in Davis with a single to right field. The Wildcats added a second run after right fielder Tyler Casagrande grounded into a double play. By the end of the second inning, the Wildcats trailed 8-2.

Ultimately, the Arizona Wildcats had a pitching performance that can only be described as dreadful, as they surrendered an astonishing 22 hits to the Ducks. Having fallen behind early, the Wildcats were unable to close the gap in the scoreboard, resulting in a disappointing 15-3 loss.

 

Game 2: Saturday, April 1, at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats opened the second game of the series by scoring 4 runs in the first inning. Center fielder Mac Bingham led off the inning with a single. This was immediately followed by a triple by shortstop Nik McClaughry to drive them both in, with McClaughry scoring on a fielding error. A double by Davis and a single by first baseman Kiko Romero followed. Two batters later, Caulfield drove in 2 runs with a single to give the Wildcats an early 4-0 lead in the first inning.

The Wildcats were not done, as they continued firing on all cylinders in the second inning. The Wildcats collected five more hits and added 6 more runs, giving them a 10-0 lead after two innings. The Wildcats opened the second game with lots of energy after an ugly performance in the opening game of the series.

Arizona starting pitcher Bradon Zastrow pitched an impressive five innings, giving up 3 runs — none of which were earned — while striking out six Oregon batters. As the ballgame entered the sixth inning, the Wildcats held a 10-3 lead. However, both sides were playing sloppy defense, as Arizona had committed two errors which resulted in 3 runs, while Oregon had committed three errors which resulted in 2 runs.

 

After Zastrow’s fantastic performance, the Wildcats left the game in the hands of the bullpen. The comfortable 7-run lead quickly disappeared after relief pitchers Dawson Netz, Eric Orloff and Chris Barraza gave up a total of 6 runs in their combined one inning of relief. After leading 10-0 early through two innings, the Wildcats were outscored 10-1 over the next five innings, giving them an 11-10 lead as the ball game entered the eighth inning.

The Wildcat offense had gone quiet after a strong performance early in the game. Arizona was playing sloppy defense and looked drained after allowing Oregon to claw back after trailing by 10 early. In the top of the ninth inning, Arizona saw an 11-10 lead turn into a 13-11 deficit after Oregon scored 3 more runs in the inning.

The Wildcats failed to score in the bottom of the inning and lost 13-11 in a game they were once leading 10-0. The Wildcat bullpen failed to do their job, giving up 10 runs in only four innings of relief. The bullpen gave up a combined 17 runs through the first two games of the series.

Game 3: Sunday, April 2, at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats went into Sunday’s series finale hoping to avoid a sweep after two grueling defeats.

Oregon struck first, scoring 2 runs in the first two innings of the game. Arizona responded by cutting its deficit in half thanks to a sac-fly by Casagrande in the bottom of the second inning. Through two innings, Arizona trailed 2-1.

In the third inning, Oregon launched a 2-run homer to give them a 4-1 lead. The lead grew over the next four innings as Oregon scored 3 more runs to gain a 7-1 lead.

The Wildcats were not done yet though, as they opened the bottom of the seventh inning with back-to-back home runs by Davis — his 11th of the season — and Romero — his eighth of the season — to cut the Wildcat deficit to 3 runs. One inning later, right fielder and pinch hitter Emilio Corona hit a solo home run for his second of the season. As the game entered the ninth, Arizona trailed 7-5.

Arizona failed to come away with runs in the ninth inning as they lost 8-5 to the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks leave Tucson with the series sweep and should be in great spirits. On the other hand, Arizona must figure its issues out before it becomes too late to be in postseason contention.

 

What’s next:

Arizona looks to snap their nine-game Pac-12 losing streak when they host the University of Washington for a three-game series next week. The series begins on Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m., with games two and three being played on Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 8, at 1 p.m.


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