Arizona, boosted by home runs by Mac Bingham and Chase Davis, a defensive clinic in the last five innings and a strong performance by the bullpen, closed out the regular-season home schedule with a 10-5 win Sunday in comeback fashion against No. 2 Oregon State at Hi Corbett field.
“This is something that you have to push through,” Davis said. “It happens all the time in baseball. We had some opportunities early in the game, didn’t take advantage of it. But you know what, at the end of the day, it all works out and everything is appreciated. We did our best to keep going and keep pushing harder.”
Down 5-1 in the fifth inning, the Arizona bats got rolling to score nine unanswered runs. The Wildcats’ bullpen did not allow one run after the fourth inning.
“(Pitching) coach (Dave) Lawn has been working so hard with these guys and it’s paying off,” Arizona coach Chip Hale said. “Javyn (Pimental) is getting better and better at being a guy that we can trust. Taco’s (starter Anthony Susac) not fully stretched out. We’re gonna scratch like 77-80 pitches out of him.”
Winning the third game of the series with Oregon State (40-11, 19-8) claims the series for the Wildcats. They lost 12-9 on Friday but bounced back with wins Saturday (5-2 score) and Sunday.
Arizona (35-18, 16-11) plays at Oregon next weekend to conclude their regular season.
Whoops 😬 pic.twitter.com/a94VPWvD94
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) May 15, 2022
Susac got the start on Sunday and struggled early to produce outs. With two runners on first and second base in the first inning, Oregon State’s Jacob Melton hit a sac fly to center field, driving in Wade Meckler and advancing Travis Bazzana to third.
Gavin Logan was the next batter and singled down the left field line, scoring Travis Bazzana enabling the Beavers to take the early 2-0 lead.
Arizona managed to load the bases in the first inning thanks to a single to right field by Daniel Susac and walks by Davis and Tony Bullard, but Garen Caulfield flew out to end the first inning with no runs scored.
Arizona’s struggles on the pitching mound continued in the second inning. With two outs and a runner on second base, Bazzana hit a two-run home run to increase the lead to 4-0.
3 more outs 😤 #BearDown
End 8 | Arizona 10, Oregon State 5 pic.twitter.com/cFlvNnzaqK
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) May 15, 2022
Arizona had an opportunity to put at least one run on the board in the third inning but Tommy Splaine and Bingham struck out to end the third inning.
Oregon State put one more run on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Bazzana, who had been giving the Arizona pitchers grief all game, hit a line-drive single into right field, scoring Jake Dukart.
The next batter flied out for the third out.
“(Susac) was up in the zone a little bit; in the first inning, he walked a couple guys,” Hale said. “And then then we got caught in kind of a funky situation. The guy showed bunt and pulled back and hit. That’s the double play ball and we didnt have a second baseman there.”
“After that, I thought he pitched better. He got us out there. Javyn really quieted things down. And then we went of course to Trevor (Long) and (Pimental), who have been our stalwarts in the bullpen.”
The fifth and sixth innings are when the Arizona offense and defense began turning the tide.
Oregon State had three batters up and three batters down in the fifth.
Bullard was on second base and Noah Turley on first when a wild pitch was thrown and they both advance to the next base, putting them in scoring position.
Splaine was the next batter and struck out, leaving Arizona with two outs. Bingham was the next batter and crushed a three-run home run over the left field wall to but the lead to 5-4.
“Just put the bat on the ball,” Bingham said what was going through his mind when he hit the home run. “The pitcher was throwing hard, in the mid 90’s. It’s a warm day so I just wanted to put the bat on the ball and give us a chance.”
McClaughry, the next batter, flew out to close the fifth inning.
After another scoreless inning by Oregon State in the sixth, the Arizona bats began to really catch fire.
With Daniel Susac on second base after doubling to left center field, Davis stepped up to plate and blasted the pitch on to the roof of the Terry Francona batting facility beyond the right field wall.
Arizona continued to rally with Cauflield on second base and Turley on first with two outs and Splaine at bat.
Splaine singled up the middle to drive in Caulfieldand advance Turley to second base, boosting the Arizona lead to 7-5..
Arizona’s lead increased in the bottom of the seventh inning. Three runs were scored, making the score 10-5.
Bullard doubled into right field, scoring Daniel Susac and advancing Davis to third.
Caulfield then doubled down the third base line to drive in both Bullard and Davis.
The Wildcat defense, led by a significant performance by McClaughry at shortstop, did not let an Oregon State batter get past second base to close the game.
Daniel Susac wetn 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI. Bingham was 2-for-5 with a run, three RBIs and a home run. Bullard was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Caulfield went 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Turley was 1-for-2 with a run. Splaine was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
Chris Barraza (2-0) picked up the win for Arizona in one inning pitched with one hit allowed.
The win guarantees a winning conference record for the Wildcats in their first season under Hale. It also marked the first time the Wildcats have won back-to-back series against the Beavers since taking three straight from 2003-05.
The Wildcats finished the regular season with a total attendance tally of 100,226, marking the fourth time they have eclipsed the 100,000 mark since moving to Hi Corbett Field in 2012.