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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball embarrasses No. 19 ASU and sweeps Utah

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Amelia McAnear

Cameron LaLiberte (left) and Jack Grant (right) hug Tony Bullard (center) after he scores a run in a game against Utah on April 21 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game 14-9. 

The Arizona baseball team hosted ASU in the middle of the week before they hosted the University of Utah for a three-game series this past weekend. The Wildcats continued their hot streak, as they outscored their opponents 62-16 and went 4-0 over the week. Arizona now holds a record of 22-15 (9-12 in Pac-12 play).

”We’re very confident that we have one of the better offenses in the country,” said head coach Chip Hale.

Arizona (18-15) vs. No. 19 ASU (25-10): Wednesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. 

The Wildcats jumped out early in a game that was dominated by Arizona from start to finish. The Wildcats opened the first inning with two straight hits to score the first run of the game. Chase Davis then stepped up to the plate and launched a 2-run home run — his 13th of the season — to put the Wildcats up 3-0 early. A few batters later, Tony Bullard stepped up to the plate with two runners on base and launched a 3-run home run — his third of the season — to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead in the first inning.

 

Arizona's Cam Walty throws a pitch against Arizona State at Hi Corbett Field on April 19. Walty pitched 7 scoreless innings in a game against ASU. 
Arizona’s Cam Walty throws a pitch against Arizona State at Hi Corbett Field on April 19. Walty pitched 7 scoreless innings in a game against ASU.

 

In the second inning, Mac Bingham hit a solo home run — his eighth of the season — and Kiko Romero hit a 2-run home run — his 12th of the season — to give the Wildcats a 9-0 lead through only two innings of play. By the fourth inning, the Wildcats had added 2 more runs to go up 11-0 against the ranked in-state rival.

The Wildcat bats stayed hot as they scored 7 more runs in the fifth and sixth innings while also forcing three walks in the fifth. As the game headed into the seventh inning, the Wildcats led 18-0.

In the seventh inning, Bullard launched his second homer of the game and fourth of the season to give the Wildcats a 19-0 lead. Another run from Emilio Corona in the eighth inning finalized the score. The Wildcats shut out the Sun Devils 20-0, marking Arizona’s widest margin of victory over ASU and the second-widest margin of victory all-time in the series.

 

Wildcat starting pitcher Cam Walty pitched a gem, going seven innings giving up just five hits and striking out seven Sun Devil batters en route to his second win of the season.

Arizona (19-15) vs. Utah (14-21-1) Game 1: Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m. 

Utah opened up the first inning with back-to-back hits to give them an early 1-0 lead. The Arizona defense made some stellar plays to keep the Utah lead to only 1 run. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats opened with a leadoff single, followed by a walk, putting runners on first and second. The Wildcats were able to tie the game at 1-1 following an RBI-single by Tommy Splaine.

Utah scored 4 more runs in the second inning thanks to a barrage of hits by the Utah offense and some sloppy defense by the Wildcats. Arizona starting pitcher Jackson Kent lasted only 1.1 innings, giving up 5 runs on six hits, before being replaced by former starter TJ Nichols, who was recently moved into the bullpen following some early-season struggles.

Arizona outfielder Chase Davis at bat in a game against Utah on April 21 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game 14-9. 
Arizona outfielder Chase Davis at bat in a game against Utah on April 21 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game 14-9.

The Wildcats quickly responded with four straight hits in the bottom half of the second to cut Utah’s lead to 5-4. The inning began with a strikeout, but was followed by back-to-back singles from Mason White and Bullard. Their singles were followed by an RBI double by Tyler Casagrande and a 2-RBI double by Bingham.

Utah added another run in the third inning, extending their lead to 6-4. However, the Wildcats once again responded by adding 1 run, but they failed to fully take advantage of the inning, leaving runners on second and third.

Utah added 3 more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to extend their lead to 9-5. After the Wildcat offense went quiet in the fourth and fifth innings, Bullard launched a 2-run home run — his fifth of the season — in the sixth inning, putting the Wildcats back into the game and cutting their deficit to only 2 runs. The Arizona bats stayed hot, as they wound up scoring 6 runs in the inning to take an 11-9 lead through six innings of play.

 

“We have a lot of veteran guys,” Hale said. “They’re feeling pretty good about themselves.”

Utah threatened late but was unable to pull through in the seventh and eighth innings. The Wildcats, on the other hand, added 3 more runs in the eighth inning to extend their lead to 14-9. The Wildcats held on to win, as they completed the comeback to take game one of the three-game series.

Arizona (20-15) vs. Utah (14-22-1) Game 2: Saturday, April 22 at 6 p.m. 

Game two of the three-game series started out quieter than the first. The first three batters for Utah were all retired in short order, and the first two Wildcat batters met similar fates. With two outs in the first inning, Davis smoked a line drive to right-center field for a triple. Unfortunately, Romero was not able to drive him in, and the score remained 0-0 through one inning of play.

In the top of the second, Utah had runners on second and third with one out, and Arizona was able to complete a wild double play to get out of the inning without giving up a run. In the bottom half of the inning, Bullard stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and ripped a 2-RBI single to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead. The Wildcats were not done scoring, as Nik McClaughry launched a 3-run home run — his third of the season — to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 6-0. The Wildcats sent 11 batters up to the plate in the second. As the third inning began, Arizona led 6-0.

The Wildcats stayed hot in the third, scoring 9 more runs. The inning began with the first two batters getting on base before Casagrande laced an RBI double to extend the Wildcat lead to 7 runs. Two batters later, McClaughry drove in 2 runs with a single to left field before he was brought in by Davis. Later in the inning, Bullard launched a grand slam, picking up his fourth home run of the week and sixth of the season, giving the Wildcats a 15-0 lead.

 

In the fourth inning, White hit the Wildcats’ second grand slam of the night and his third home run of the season, giving the Wildcats a 19-0 lead. On the other side, Wildcat starting pitcher Bradon Zastrow cruised through the first six innings without giving up a run and allowing only two hits.

“You stay hungry. You want to roll out there and get out there and put up zeros, so they can get back out there and score 10 more runs,” Zastrow said.

After a hot start, the Wildcats cooled off, as they went scoreless in the final four innings of the game. However, the Wildcats cruised to a 19-2 victory. The Wildcats have outscored opponents 67-19 over the past four games, dating back to the victory over Washington State University on Sunday, April 16.

Arizona second baseman Mason White tags out an opponent in a game against Utah on April 22 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game 19-2. 
Arizona second baseman Mason White tags out an opponent in a game against Utah on April 22 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats went on to win the game 19-2.

Arizona (21-15) vs. Utah (14-23-1) Game 3: Sunday, April 23 at 12 p.m. 

Wildcat starting pitcher Aiden May ran into some early trouble in the first inning, as he walked the bases loaded, but was able to escape the jam and keep Utah scoreless. In the bottom half of the first inning, White walked with the bases loaded to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead. However, the Wildcats failed to add more runs, as they left the bases loaded.

Utah responded by scoring 3 runs to take their first lead of the game 3-1. However, Utah’s lead was short-lived, as White ripped a 2-run triple to tie the game at 3-3. A few batters later, Casagrande laced another 2-run triple to give the Wildcats a 5-3 lead over Utah.

In the following inning, left fielder Davis launched a 2-run home run to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead. He leads the team with 14 home runs this season.

 

“The energy is definitely there,” Davis said. “We’re really excited to be performing.”

He also made some stellar plays in the outfield all weekend.

“It’s just defense, it’s how I play the game,” Davis said. “I’m gonna make the plays regardless.”

May lasted five innings, giving up only 3 runs and two hits while striking out six batters. However, he struggled with his command, as he walked seven Utah batters.

The fifth and sixth innings were scoreless for both teams, but Arizona broke the scoring drought in the seventh. A 2-RBI single by Romero gave the Wildcats a 9-3 lead. However, Utah scored 2 runs in the eighth to cut into their deficit thanks to some sloppy defense by the Wildcats that allowed 2 unearned runs.

The Wildcats held off a late rally by Utah to complete the weekend sweep, as they held on to win 9-5.

Looking ahead

The Wildcats host the University of New Mexico on Tuesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. before they travel to Corvallis, Oregon to play No. 22 Oregon State University next weekend.

“Oregon State has played extremely well right now,” Hale said. “We’re gonna have to play better baseball.”


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