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Wildcat Baseball Rally to Capture Rubber Match Victory Against Bitter Rivals

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Sophomore Trevor Long (51 RHP) finishing out the 2nd inning in game 1

A rain of disapproval, tension between 123 year old rivals and a bat flip walk off home run highlighted this thriller last weekend in Tucson as the Wildcat faithful watched their baseball team host their enemy Arizona State Sun Devils. The Chip Hale led Cats began their homestead with an immediate advantage as Arizona State baseball head coach Willie Bloomquist (ex Sun Devil baseball player) was noted as saying, "I don’t know if I’d ever say I’m excited to go to Tucson" before Friday's opening game of the series. The Cat's familiarity and pride of playing in the infamous "Dirty T" was just one of the defining factors that helped lead the rally cry resulting in Arizona to be crowned victors in one the biggest rivalries in all of sports.

Game 1:

The first 9 innings of the series saw the Cats capture the momentum. They came out of the dugout sprinting, eager and relentlessly determined to prove who the most valiant baseball club in Arizona. The catalysts of this expedition were star junior right fielder #44 Tanner O'Tremba who drove in two hits 3 runs batted in and his teammate across the outfield sophomore left fielder #5 Chase Davis who logged 2 runs and 2 hits. One of Davis's hits included the walk off home run late in the 10th inning giving the fans their money's worth when given "free baseball" as he launched a no doubt shot over the right field fence, tossing his bat to the ground as soon as he made contact, as he paraded with his teammates soaking him in gatorade and cheers after he cycled the bases with his chest sticking out. This late game surge handed the Cats their first victory of the series winning game one 7-6. After the game, when asked about the clutch delivery and it being his first career walk off, a smiling Davis remarked, "That was a good time to have it."

Plaque of the 1976 University of Arizona national championship baseball team's photo(honored during the 7th inning in Game 1)

Game 2:

The sequel arose and to no surprise, the Sun Devils were seeking revenge as the series title was on the line. Arizona State came out firing on all cylinders as they took a quick 6-0 lead after five different players on their rotation recorded at least 1 RBI. The Cat's were not rattled as they tried to build off of the momentum they built in game 1 and got assistance once again from O'Tremba as he recorded 4 hits and 2 runs and freshman second baseman Garen Caulfield who stepped up and had 2 hits, a run and an RBI. The Cats rallied late, but it was too late as the Sun Devils were in the driver seat all of the game and did not let up offensively. Arizona lost game two 8-5 evening the series 1-1, allowing both teams a rubber match game 3 scenario. Wildcat fans were bittersweet knowing that this was going to be an overwhelming battle to overcome yet going to be an exciting one with the most marbles on the table.

Arizona baseball head coach Chip Hale (8) approaching the umpire in game 2

Game 3:

This photograph above captured in game 2 exhibited foreshadowing for the events that would take place in the 5th inning of game 3, as a controversial call from the home plate umpire promoted a grim and portentous scene. Chip Hale disagreed with the one of the college baseball rules stating that a player must attempt to get out of the way when getting hit by a pitch as the umpire deemed that Chase Davis leaned his knee into the pitch that he was hit by resulting in him not being allowed to take his base. Hale did not believe that he moved his knee into the pitch which led to him approaching the umpire to complain the call resulting in his ejection from the game. Hale was on record after the game concluded explaining the confrontation, "I don't feel like he moved his knee at all, you know.. he didn't give up the box." Hale also mentioned that he apologized to the officials postgame for his actions as he was frustrated in the moment. The Arizona dugout became more vocal after Hale's ejection as they needed to someone to man the charge in this make or break game which led to more inspiration and firepower that would ultimately ignite a spark in the Cat's play. Arizona produced 8 more runs after their head coach was retired from the final game of the series giving them the series title winning game three, 14-4 and 2-1 in the series.

This gives the Cats all the confidence in the world going into their next series after defeating their foes from up north as they host the Nevada Wolfpack in another 3 game series beginning tonight at 6pm MST.

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