Impressive performances at the plate by Kiko Romero and Mac Bingham and a career day on the mound by Aiden May helped Arizona complete its Pac-12 season-opening sweep of California on Sunday with a 10-5 score in front of a crowd of 3,574 at the Hi Corbett Field.
The victory also boosted Arizona’s winning streak to nine games, giving it plenty of confidence heading deeper into conference play.
What was learned over the weekend:
Arizona can rely on its third-day starting pitching in a Pac-12 series
“It kind of sets the precedent for our whole team,” May said. “Great pitching showing, great offensive showing. To go out there and get the sweep is a big confidence booster, especially going to play a big team like UCLA.”
The Wildcats (12-3 overall) are alone on top of the standings with their 3-0 record. They start a three-game series at UCLA (12-2, 2-1) on Friday but first are scheduled to play at Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. The Bruins beat Oregon in two out of three games in Eugene, Ore., over the weekend.
After returning home to play Utah Tech on March 21, Arizona play three games at ASU (9-7, 0-0) from March 24-26.
Through six innings on Sunday against Cal, May notched a career-high eight strikeouts with only one walk, seven hits allowed and three earned runs.
“He’s outstanding, it’s great stuff,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “When he’s throwing the sliders like that he’s pretty much unhittable. Its disappointing that he gave up the runs, he had such great stuff. A really great start to build on going over to UCLA to the weekend.”
Mac Bingham at the leadoff spot sets up cleanup hitter Kiko Romero well
Romero is a force.
He hit another home run Sunday against Cal and went 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs.
Romero was 11-for-17 with 10 RBIs and three home runs against the Golden Bears.
Bingham was highly efficient as well with a 3-for-5 day at the plate with three RBIs. He was the leadoff batter Sunday but has also played at the cleanup spot.
“Macs been great,” Hale said. “(Whether) it’s in the lead ff spot or in the 4-hole, he’s been great all year. Kiko and Tyler Casagrande, all weekend, have been fantastic for us. But (Sunday) Mac had a couple huge hits for us late.”
Romero sent his home run past the left field wall to shorten Cal’s lead to 3-2 heading into the fifth inning.
In the fifth, Bingham hit a double to left field to score Casagrande, who doubled in the previous at-bat.
Nik McClaughry then doubled to left field, driving in Bingham to give Arizona the lead at 4-3.
Salpointe graduate Mason White showing signs of coming around
Salpointe left-handed pitcher Mason White continued the scoring for Arizona in the sixth inning with a double into left-center field, scoring Brendan Summerhill. White advanced to third after the throw was made to home plate.
After Casagrande was walked, Bingham was the next batter and hit a flyball deep into left field to drive in Casagrande and White to increase the lead to 7-3.
White is batting .217 with 17 strikeouts but he has shown flashes of what made him a standout with the Lancers. Of his 10 hits, four are for extra bases — two doubles, a triple and a home run.