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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

Arizona baseball finishes as runner-up in the Pac-12 Tournament

The Wildcats fell to Oregon 5-4 in the Championship


Danielle Main

Senior Tony Bullard walks through the dugout during game against North Dakota State University on Friday, March 3 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats took the win 8-6. 

Nathaniel Levin

The Arizona baseball team finished runner-up in the Pac-12 Tournament after losing to the University of Oregon 5-4, on Saturday, May 27. However, the No. 8-seeded Wildcats made a magical run, which included wins over No. 5-seeded ASU and No. 2-seeded Oregon State University in pool play before obliterating No. 1-seeded Stanford University 14-4 in the semifinals on Friday, May 26. The Wildcats close off the tournament with a record of 33-24 (12-18 in Pac-12 play), as they now hope to receive an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament when the selection is made on Monday, May 29, at 9 a.m.

Semifinal: Friday, May 26, at 7 p.m. 

Stanford took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, but their lead would not last for long. The Wildcats put up 8 runs against Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Quinn Mathews in the second inning. The inning began with a leadoff home run by Mason White — his eighth of the season — which was then followed by back-to-back doubles by Tony Bullard and Tommy Splaine to tie the game at 2-2

A few moments later, Nik McClaughry and Chase Davis hit back-to-back singles, giving the Wildcats a 5-2 lead. The Wildcats continued their attack on Mathews, forcing him to exit after pitching only 1.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season. By the end of the inning, the Wildcats held an 8-2 lead

A few innings later, in the fifth, Davis stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, as the Wildcats were leading 9-3. He then launched a massive home run — his 21st of the seasonclearing the bases, giving the Wildcats a 13-3 lead

The Wildcats wound up run-ruling Stanford 14-4, advancing them into the Pac-12 Championship game. The Wildcat offense was firing on all cylinders, but Wildcat starting pitcher Bradon Zastrow also put on a show, pitching the first Wildcat complete game since Garrett Irvin in 2021. He wound up going the distance, pitching all seven innings while surrendering only 4 runs and striking out five Stanford batters.

Championship: Saturday, May 27, at 7 p.m.

The Pac-12 Championship game opened with a scoreless first two innings before the Wildcats jumped on the board first in the third inning, following an RBI-single by McClaughry. However, Oregon quickly tied things up in the bottom half of the inning, before scoring 2 runs in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead early.

Both teams were collecting a plentiful amount of hits but struggled to score runs. However, the Wildcats were able to crack into the deficit in the fifth inning, as Mac Bingham ripped an RBI single, as Arizona trailed 3-2 through five innings of play. 

In the following inning, Kiko Romero launched a deep fly ball off the top of the center field wall, which ricocheted back toward the infield. Romero then raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run — his 19th homer of the seasontying the game up at 3-3. This long bomb also gave him his 86th RBI of the season, which ties the Arizona single-season RBI record

Unfortunately, Oregon quickly counterattacked with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to regain the lead. Yet, Arizona had a golden opportunity to tie things up in the seventh, as they had the bases loaded with two outs in the inning. However, Romero struck out, stranding three runners on base and leaving the Wildcats empty-handed as they still trailed 4-3. To make matters worse, Oregon scored another run in the bottom half of the inning. The Wildcats were now chasing 2 runs with only two innings left in the game. 

Bullard brought some life to the Wildcats in the eighth with a solo homer — his 12th of the season — but it wasn’t enough, as the Wildcats wound up falling to Oregon 5-4 in the Pac-12 Championship game

Looking ahead:

The Wildcats now turn their focus to the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday at 9 a.m. as they wait to see the fate of their remaining season.

Follow Nathaniel Levin on Twitter

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