Arizona baseball bounces back after back to back wins against Washington


Jackie Cabrera

Arizona baseball player Chase Davis (left) celebrates with his teammate Cameron LaLiberte (right) after hitting a home run during the game against the University of Oregon on April 2 in Hi Corbett Field. The Arizona baseball team went on to lose the game with a score of 5-8.

Nathaniel Levin

The Arizona baseball team hosted the University of Washington for a three-game series this past weekend. The Wildcats took the final two games of the series after dropping the first game on Thursday. The Wildcats outscored the Huskies 25-5 during their two wins on Friday and Saturday. Arizona now holds a record of 16-13 (5-10 in Pac-12 play).

Game 1: Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m.

During Thursday night’s opening game, the Wildcats fell behind early. When the Wildcats came up to bat in the bottom of the third inning, they were trailing 5-0. However, back-to-back triples in the bottom half of the inning by right fielder Emilio Corona and center fielder Mac Bingham gave the Wildcats their first run of the game. Shortstop Nik McClaughry drove in Bingham, giving the Wildcats their second run of the game.

In the sixth inning, the Huskies added another run to give them a 6-3 lead, but the Wildcats would counter with a 3-run home run by Bingham to tie the game up at 6-6. The Wildcats, after trailing by 5 runs early, had completed their comeback and were now back in the game.

The Wildcats took their first lead of the game in the eighth inning after Washington made two costly errors that allowed the Wildcats to score 2 runs on a single play, giving them an 8-7 lead as the game entered the ninth inning. The Wildcats sent in pitcher Trevor Long to close out the game and give the Wildcats their first Pac-12 win since early March.

However, the inning turned out to be a disaster, as the Wildcats gave up 6 runs in the inning and saw an 8-7 lead turn into a 13-8 deficit. The Wildcats came up empty-handed in the bottom of the ninth, and ultimately dropped their 10th straight Pac-12 game, in heartbreaking fashion.


Game 2: Friday, April 7 at 6 p.m.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after collecting a pair of hits to put them on the board early. During the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats looked like they were going to be retired in short order, but a Husky error kept the inning alive. Wildcat first baseman Kiko Romero immediately made Washington pay for their mistake by launching a deep 2-run home run, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.

Arizona third baseman Tony Bullard opened the second with a leadoff double, and he was brought in by a sacrifice-fly by Bingham two batters later, giving the Wildcats a 3-1 lead through two innings.

In the third inning, Corona doubled down the left field line to bring in 2 runs to give the Wildcats a 5-1 lead. The Wildcats were not done yet, as Bullard doubled to left field, bringing in two runners. By the end of the inning, Arizona had scored 5 runs and had extended their lead to 8-1.

The Huskies cut into the deficit over the next two innings, but the Wildcats still led 8-4 as they prepared to bat in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats added 2 more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to some sloppy defense by the Huskies.

Wildcat starting pitcher Bradon Zastrow had a solid outing, going five innings, giving up 4 runs and six hits while striking out four batters. He was able to escape multiple jams throughout the night. In the sixth inning, he was replaced by TJ Nichols, who has recently moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen. Nichols pitched phenomenally in relief, going four innings, giving up two hits, zero runs and striking out two batters.

“I feel comfortable out of the bullpen or as a starter,” Nichols said. “I’m just trying to do my job one day at a time.”

Bullard ripped his third double of the game in the sixth, which also extended the Wildcats’ lead to 11-4. In the eighth inning, Mason White launched a deep home run to give the Wildcats their 12th run of the night. The Wildcats closed the game, winning 12-4, and they snapped their 10-game Pac-12 losing streak.

“I’m just proud of them, and excited them,” Arizona head coach Chip Hale said following Friday night’s win. “They’ve been grinding so hard to get this victory.”


Arizona shortstop Nik McClaughry celebrates a home run in a game against Grand Canyon University on March 28 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game in 10 innings with a score of 10-9.
Arizona shortstop Nik McClaughry celebrates a home run in a game against Grand Canyon University on March 28 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game in 10 innings with a score of 10-9.


Game 3: Saturday, April 8 at 12 p.m.

Both teams entered Saturday’s game looking to win the series after splitting the opening two games of the series.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second following a 2-run home run down the left field line by Corona. In the third inning, the Wildcats opened the inning with back-to-back hits by McClaughry and Chase Davis, but were unable to come away with any runs in the inning.

Arizona starting pitcher Aiden May cruised through the first four innings, giving up three hits while striking out four batters, and he kept the Huskies off the board. However, he gave up back-to-back hits to start the fifth inning, putting Washington runners on second and third with no outs. Davis made a phenomenal grab in left field, robbing Washington catcher Johnny Tincher of a 2-run, game-tying double and forcing them to settle for 1.

“You know it’s just awesome to have guys like that make those plays,” May said. “It just makes it easier on me as a pitcher.”

In the sixth inning, the Wildcats’ offense was back in its groove and was looking to extend their 1-run lead. Romero laced a 2-run single to right field to extend Arizona’s lead to 4-1 through six innings. The Wildcats continued their attack in the seventh by adding 2 more runs, giving them a 6-1 lead.

The Wildcats blew the game wide open in the eighth inning, scoring 7 runs thanks to a barrage of hits from the Wildcat offense. The Wildcats turned a 5-run lead into a 12-run lead as they finished off Washington, winning 13-1 in the final game of the three-game series. The Wildcat bullpen pitched eight scoreless innings between both wins on Friday and Saturday.

“I thought the pitchers did a wonderful job,” Hale said. “There were so many positive things that I saw in this game.”

What’s next:

Arizona hosts New Mexico State University on Tuesday, April 11, at 6 p.m., before traveling to Pullman, Washington, to face Washington State University next weekend.

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