Arizona Baseball Starts Out with a Solid 3-1
With the first week of University of Arizona baseball in the books, it’s a good time to look back and recap what has come before. A relatively short week of ball, this recap covers from 2/17 to 2/23 and will be the first in a series of weekly baseball recaps. Without further ado, let us begin.
2/18 - #15 Arizona @ Kansas State
In game one of three in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at the quite new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Rangers, the Wildcats came out swinging to start the season.
In the top of the 2nd, 1st baseman Noah Turley put the Wildcats on the board with a solo home run, 1-0. In the top of the 3rd, center fielder Mac Bingham extended the lead to 2-0 with an RBI double to center. Soon after, catcher Daniel Susac made it a 3-0 ballgame with an RBI single to left. In the bottom of the 3rd, Kansas State notched their first run as left fielder Dominic Johnson hit an RBI double to left, 3-1.
Later in the 6th, right fielder Tanner O’Tremba made it a 4-1 game with a solo HR. In the top of the 7th, Susac picked up a two-RBI double to right field, making it 6-1. In the 8th, the offense exploded for both sides as the Wildcats picked up two runs, one on an RBI triple by shortstop Nik McClaughry and then a steal that brought him in. With the bottom of the 8th starting at 8-1, Kansas State put up five straight runs as pinch hitter Orlando Salinas hit a two-RBI single, third baseman Kaelen Culpepper was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk and CF Cole Johnson hit a sac fly. When the inning finally ended, the score was 8-6 and would hold, giving the Wildcats the win.
George Arias, Jr. was credited with his first win of the year on a scoreless inning of relief work. Blake Adams was dealt his first loss of the year on six innings of work, surrendering four runs on seven hits while notching eight strikeouts. Closer Holden Christian picked up his first save on 1.2 innings of work with no runs and a single strikeout.
2/19 - Oklahoma (1-0) at #15 Arizona (1-0)
In the midway matchup, the Wildcats once again came out with the intent to win. In the bottom of the 3rd, Arizona put up five runs with Bingham and O’Tremba two RBI triples and a sac fly by LF Chase Davis. In the 4th, Oklahoma clawed back two runs on a single by RF T. Brown. In the 5th, Oklahoma CF T. Tredaway made it 5-3 on a sac fly. Immediately, the Wildcats responded with a two-spot as 2B Tyler Casagrande and DH Blake Paugh hit back-to-back RBI doubles to make it 7-3.
In the top of the 7th, Oklahoma’s Tredaway made it 7-4 on an RBI groundout. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats unleashed their offensive might as they scored seven runs in the inning. O’Tremba started with a solo HR, Paugh and 3B Garen Caulfield drew back-to-back bases-loaded walks, McClaughry hit an RBI fielder’s choice, Bingham nailed a two-RBI double and Susac got on base on a poor throw from short that allowed Bingham to score. With all told, the Wildcats came out on top 14-4.
Wildcat reliever Quinn Flanagan was credited with his first win on 2.1 innings of work, surrendering two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a hit batter. Sooner starter D. Sandlin was dealt his first loss as he was shelled in 4.1 innings of work, surrendering six runs on eight hits and a walk while notching four strikeouts.
2/20 - #15 Arizona (2-0) @ #12 Texas Tech (1-1)
In the final game at Globe Life Park, the Wildcats made themselves at home as they dominated their fellow Top 25 opponents. The first four innings went silently as both teams' starters engaged in a pitcher’s duel. In the top of the 5th, the momentum began to grow as Arizona put up five runs off of a McClaughry double, Susac single, O’Tremba double, and Davis two-run homer.
In the bottom of the 6th, Texas Tech made it a 5-2 ballgame as 1B Cole Stilwell notched an RBI fielder’s choice and LF Dalton Porter hit an RBI single. These would be the only two runs Texas Tech would score as in the 7th a Susac single and Casagrande bases-loaded walk made it 7-2. In the 8th, a Davis single and Turley two-RBI double made it 10-2. In the 9th, McClaughry and O’Tremba doubled, with one and two runs scoring respectively to make the final score 13-2.
Arizona’s starter Dawson Netz picked up his first win of the year on five innings of work in which he surrendered only three hits, no runs, and a walk while striking out six. Texas Tech’s starter Mason Molina was hit with his first loss as he surrendered two runs on three hits, three walks, and a balk while striking out five on four innings of work.
2/22 – Grand Canyon (1-2) @ #11 Arizona (3-0)
Coming off of a rough homestand against Nevada where they dropped two, it seemed unlikely that Grand Canyon would do much against #11 Arizona at the friendly confines of Hi Corbett Field. Instead, Grand Canyon channeled their energy from their Sunday afternoon blowout win to pick up a Tuesday night upset.
Right out the gate, GCU took the lead in the 1st on an RBI sacrifice bunt by OF Cade Verdusco, 1-0. In the 2nd, GCU put up three more runs on singles by 2B Jonny Weaver and 1B Elijah Buries and a double by 3B Juan Colato. In the next inning, DH Maxwell Andeel nailed a two-run homer to make it 6-0. In the 5th, the Wildcats finally got on the board as a bad throw from the catcher on a dropped strike three allowed O’Tremba to get on base and McClaughry to score, 6-1.
In the 6th, GCU sealed the game effectively as a bases-loadedtwo-RBI walk by Verdusco and a grand slam by C Tyler Wilson made it 11-1. In the 7th, GCU extended the lead to 15-1 on a Weaver solo HR, Verdusco single, and Wilson double. After the 7th inning stretch, O’Tremba made it 15-3 with a two RBI double. In the 8th, Weaver smacked a sacrifice fly and Andeel scored on a wild pitch, extending the score to 17-3. In the 9th, GCU added some additional insurance runs as a triple by PH Ronnie Belton III and an error by the first baseman that allowed Belton to score made the final score 19-3, a ghastly blowout.
GCU’s starter Connor Markl picks up his first win of the season on five innings of work in which he gave up an unearned run, three hits, two walks, and a hit batter with eight strikeouts. Wildcat starter Eric Orloff was shelled as he gave up four unearned runs on four hits and a walk while picking up a single K on 1.2 innings of work.
After a week of baseball that ended in a rather underwhelming fashion, the Wildcats now look forward to a rebound and a better set of matches. They host the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers in four straight from 2/24 through 2/27. After that, they will host the Dixie State Trailblazers in a one-off game on 3/1.