No Hale? No way!
In Tuesday’s 10-9 win in 10 innings over Grand Canyon, Arizona head coach Chip Hale was ejected. Hale was suspended two games for the toss. He will be back to coach Sunday’s matchup with the Oregon Ducks.
It was Bark at the Park at Hi Corbett on Friday night, but there wasn’t much tail wagging happening as Oregon (16-7, 4-3 Pac-12) took care of business in a lopsided 15-3 win over Arizona (14-10, 3-7). The Wildcats have lost seven consecutive Pac-12 games after sweeping Cal at the start of conference play.
Oregon’s starting pitcher Jace Stoffal allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings.
Arizona changed pitchers five times using TJ Nichols, Jackson Kent, Tony Pluta, George Arias Jr. and Casey Hintz.
In the first inning, Nik McClaughry slipped and slid in the dirt close to third base. His slide prevented the throw out at first, allowing Oregon’s Rikuu Nishida to score.
Nichols, Arizona’s starting pitcher junior right-hander, had a rough outing and was replaced by freshman left hand pitcher Jackson Kent after Oregon put up one run in the first inning and six runs in the second. Kent took over with one out and one on in the second.
Arizona pitching coach Dave Lawn, who coached in place of Hale, spoke of the team’s struggles: “They had a good plan. They were determined to stay in the middle of the field and not try to do too much and it worked.”
“Some of the balls I’m sure that went forward from the pitcher wish they could have back,” Lawn said. “It’s baseball. I refuse to sit there and be down on this group of guys, particularly the pitchers, and think that they’re not what they were the first six weeks.”
Chasing eight runs in the bottom of the second inning, Chase Davis walked and Cameron LaLiberte hit a double advancing Davis to third.
It was a strange moment as the Oregon left fielder didn’t move toward a well hit ball and just watched it drop which resulted in the LaLiberte double. Arizona scored when Garen Caulfield, singled bringing Davis across the plate. Tyler Casagrande hit into a double play that scored LaLiberte, giving the Wildcats two runs in the second.
Offense was absent for both teams in the third and fourth innings.
Fifth inning netted the Ducks five runs pushing their lead to 13-2. Arizona grabbed one run back and the fifth inning ended in a score of 13-3.
Oregon added to their lead by one when Gavin Grant doubled down the left field line scoring Dominic Hellman.
Arias Jr. came in to relieve Pluta in the seventh inning and gave up a solo home run to Jacob Walsh.
Emilio Corona, Tuesday’s hero with a walk-off double against Grand Canyon, started the bottom of the seventh inning with a single to center but the Wildcats couldn’t bring him home.
Neither team scored in the last two innings.
Lawn on Arizona bouncing back tomorrow with him again as the acting coach: “The last time Oregon played a conference game they lost 16-0 to UCLA. Do they look like they lost 16-0 against UCLA? They had a four-game series against non-conference opponents but still, that’s how quick it can turn.”
Game 2 is on Saturday with first pitch at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.