Another week of college baseball is now in the books, one with much more success for the Wildcats. In this recap, we will cover from 2/24 to 3/3, in which the Wildcats went 5-0 en route to holding up their status as the #11 ranked college baseball team in the nation. Without further ado, let us begin.
2/24 – Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-0) at #11 Arizona (3-1)
Entering into game one of four on Thursday night, an interesting series was set to play out under the lights at Hi Corbett Field. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers were 3-0 to start the year after sweeping Alabama A&M in Huntsville, with games one and three ending in blowout fashion. Arizona meanwhile was coming off of a blowout loss to Grand Canyon University on Tuesday night with a chance to recapture some home magic.
In the top of the first inning, Milwaukee got on the board thanks to an RBI double by Aaron Chapman. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats immediately responded by putting up eight runs, one scoring on a balk by Panther starter Riley Frey. In the second, the Wildcats made it a 9-1 ballgame on an RBI single by 1B Noah Turley. In the fourth, Arizona put up another three runs to make it 12-1. Milwaukee’s Mitchell Buban would hit a two-RBI single in the fifth to make it 12-3. In the sixth and eighth, Arizona would notch an additional run, with the final score being 14-3, a dominant win.
Arizona’s Anthony Susac picked up his first win of the season on a solid five innings of work on the mound, surrendering three runs on six hits and a wild pitch while tallying three strikeouts. Milwaukee’s Riley Frey would get his first loss on the year, making him 1-1 on three innings of work in which he was shelled for 10 hits, 11 runs, 10 of them earned, three walks, two wild pitches, and the balk while he struck out five. Milwaukee committed a total of three errors on the night.
2/25 – Milwaukee at #11 Arizona – Game 2
In game two, under the Friday night lights, the Wildcats would take the lead early in the second inning with an RBI triple by 2B Garen Caulfield. The next couple of innings would go by with runners being left on base by both sides until the fifth when Arizona C Daniel Susac notched an RBI single to make it 2-0. In the sixth, Milwaukee would respond with ultimately their only run of the game as their LF Connor Goodman hit an RBI fielder’s choice. Entering the seventh inning, it still felt like anyone’s game until the Wildcats put up five runs in the inning to make it 7-1. In the eighth, the Wildcats would put up two more insurance runs to make it 9-1, a score that would hold until the end.
Wildcat starter TJ Nichols would go six innings in which he surrendered only four hits, a single run, two walks, a wild pitch, and notched nine strikeouts as he earned himself a 1-0 record to start the year. Milwaukee’s Jack Mahoney would also go six innings, surrendering six hits, four runs, three walks, and hitting a batter while striking out four en route to an 0-1 start to the year.
2/26 – Milwaukee at #11 Arizona – Game 3
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Arizona once again scored quickly as Nik McClaughry was able to exploit an early wild pitch to take home from third and make it a quick 1-0 lead. In the third, freshman C Tommy Splaine, in the first at-bat of his college career would homer to left field on the first pitch he saw, a fantastic way to make it 2-0 and start his college career. In the fourth, Chase Davis nailed an RBI double down the right-field line. When he came back up in the sixth, he powered a HR to right-center field and Splaine hit an RBI single to make it 5-0. In the eighth, Arizona would notch another four runs to make it 9-0 before Milwaukee would finally bring a run across in the ninth as Jack Thelen’s RBI single would make the final score 9-1.
Arizona’s starter Garrett Irvin was dominant on the mound as he powered his way through a six-inning, five-hit shutout while only surrendering a walk and a wild pitch and striking out three. He starts out on the year now at 1-0. Milwaukee’s AJ Blubaugh falls to 1-1 on the year now as his six innings of work included six hits, five runs, four of them earned, a walk, three wild pitches, a balk, and a hit batter alongside his seven strikeouts. With this result in hand, the Wildcats also clinched the series against the Panthers, making game four a potential sweep match.
2/27 – Milwaukee at #11 Arizona – Game 4
On a cool Sunday morning, the series’ closest game would be played. In the top of the first, Milwaukee’s Aaron Chapman gave his team the lead on an RBI single to right. Arizona responded in the bottom of the inning by putting up four, making it 4-1 after just a single inning. In the top of the second, Milwaukee would respond in kind with five runs in the inning, making it 6-4 and a total of 10 runs scored in just an inning and a half. In the fourth, the Wildcats would power through and put up a four-spot, making it 8-6, a score that would hold as pitching shut down both offenses for the remaining five innings of the ballgame.
The winning pitcher for Arizona was their reliever Josh Randall, whose 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball with a strikeout effectively tamed the Milwaukee bats and settled the game down, allowing the rest of the bullpen to come in and shutout the Panthers until the game’s end. He is now 1-0 on the season. Milwaukee reliever Ryan Hoerter meanwhile took the loss on four innings of work where he gave up five hits, three runs, two earned, a walk, and a hit batter while striking out one in an appearance that helped to keep the floodgates open enough for the Wildcats to take and secure the lead. He is now 1-1 on the year.
Both teams committed three errors apiece while Nik McClaughry picked up three doubles in the ballgame. With this result, Arizona secured the four-game series sweep over the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.
3/1 – Dixie State (4-3) at #11 Arizona (7-1)
Entering an intriguing Tuesday night one-off ballgame, it seemed that Arizona would have the definite advantage coming off of a four-game sweep while Dixie State emerged from a four-game homestand against North Dakota State in which they took three of four, dropping game three, the second game of a Saturday doubleheader. What came of this instead would be another unexpected result.
Pitching was the name of this game as the first seven innings would fly by without a single run scoring, a 0-0 tie game in place entering the eighth inning. In the top of the inning, Dixie State’s leadoff batter Shane Taylor gave his team the lead on a SAC fly to center field. In the bottom of the inning, Arizona responded and tied the game at one apiece as an RBI triple by Daniel Susac kept it all knotted up. The fans in attendance were thus treated to some extra-inning baseball as the ninth flew by without any score. In the bottom of the 10th, Arizona loaded the bases with nobody out. Chase Davis battled to a 3-2 count and won it, forcing a bases-loaded walk that brought in the game-winning, walk-off run. A walk-off walk made it 2-1 and Arizona took home their fifth straight win.
Both starters would receive no decisions, with Arizona using six different pitchers through the course of the game. Holden Christian ultimately was given the win as his final two innings of shutout ball where he only surrendered two hits, two walks, a wild pitch, and notched four strikeouts sealed the game for Arizona. He is now 1-0 on the year. Dixie State’s reliever Scott Wright is handed the loss, dropping to 0-1 on the year now as in two innings he surrendered four hits, the key two runs, four walks, a wild pitch, and picked up a pair of strikeouts.
With another week wrapped up, the Wildcats now sit at 8-1 on the year. In this coming week, spring break for the U of A, the Wildcats will play four ballgames. This weekend, Arizona plays host to Texas State for a three-game set from 3/4-3/6 as they continue their long homestand. To wrap up the week, they will play New Mexico at Hi Corbett on Tuesday night, March 8th, in the final game of their 10-game homestand to start the year. To another good week of baseball and a good spring break. Cheers.