Fueled by an explosive night from the plate, and a solid performance on the mound by Cam Walty, Arizona shut out No. 19 Arizona State 20-0 in a non-conference mid-week game in front of 5,026 fans at Hi Corbett Field on Wednesday evening.
It was the most runs against the Sun Devils since the 2006 team tallied 18, and the first time the Wildcats scored at least 20 runs against their rivals since a 22-11 win at home in 1986.
That was the same year Arizona won the national title when Arizona coach Chip Hale was on the team.
The previous shut-out win against ASU was 1-0 at home in 2012, when Arizona last won a national title.
The 20-run margin is the largest shutout win over the Sun Devils in the history of the series. It topped the 12-0 win 100 years ago, when Arizona beat ASU 12-0 on March 30, 1923 at the Mesa ball grounds.
Hard to believe:
UA has now shut-out ASU 27 times in baseball series that dates to 1907.
The 20-0 win tonight largest margin when blanking ASU.
The largest previously was a 12-0 win 100 years ago against the “Normalites,” on 3/30/1923 at the Mesa ball grounds. (AZ Republic) pic.twitter.com/589OeL4uIp
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) April 20, 2023
The win gave Arizona (18-5, 6-12 Pac-12) a bit of redemption after Arizona State swept the Wildcats in a conference series in late March, and potentially follows a turning point in the season, when Arizona came back to beat Washington State in Pullman, Wash., last week — something Hale wasn’t quite ready to declare.
“We’ll see when it’s all over. Then we can can say that. But, you know, I think our bats have been really good all year,” he said.
Hale hopes the momentum continues in a weekend home series against Utah (14-21-1, 4-13-1) starting Friday at 6 p.m.
“We just need to put it together,” he said. “Good pitching, good defense and good hitting for the weekend. This team is very talented, and they just had to to play to our talent.”
Arizona routs ASU 20-0, reaches 20 runs against Sun Devils for first time since a 22-11 win at home in 1986 (year UA won CWS title with Chip Hale).
Most runs (32) & largest winning margin (30) for UA against the Sun Devils occurred in 1930 when ASU was called Tempe Bulldogs. pic.twitter.com/s1CT58dI0O
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) April 20, 2023
Walty (2-0) allowed five hits, and had seven strikeouts in his seven-inning shutout performance.
The onslaught of scoring from the Wildcats, admittingly helped his confidence, but he didn’t let the big lead go to his head.
“It’s definitely a motivation. It’s definitely having the edge on them. When they (Arizona hitters) put up a bunch of runs it helps me helps ease me, but I still look at it like a 0-0 game,” he said.
Arizona took little time figuring out Arizona State starting pitcher Timmy Manning with its first four batters getting hits early in the count in the bottom of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Mac Bingham doubled to centerfield, and a single up the middle from Nik McClaughry brought him home to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead. Davis then crushed a homer over the right field wall to put the Wildcats up 3-0 on Arizona State (25-11, 11-3).
Tonight’s attendance: 5⃣,0⃣2⃣6⃣
Second-largest midweek crowd since moving to Hi Corbett Field. Thank you, Tucson! #BearDown pic.twitter.com/u2gcTZR6st
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) April 20, 2023
Kiko Romero followed Davis up with a double to right field. Romero would eventually steal third base. With two outs in the inning, Garen Caulfield walked. Then it was Tony Bullard with a deep ball 3-run homer over left field to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 6-0.
Matt Tieding took over for Manning in the bottom of the second, but the results weren’t a whole lot better for the Sun Devils.
Bingham joined the Wednesday evening Wildcat home run club, with a solo shot to left field. With one out in the inning, Davis was hit by a pitch. Then it was Romero with a two-run shot over the left field wall to put Arizona up 9-0.
Arizona held onto the lead heading into the third inning.
The Wildcats added one more run in the bottom of the third when Bingham singled to left field, scoring Bullard.
The Sun Devils threatened to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning after Luke Keaschall and Nu’u Contrades singled to get on base. Walty then walked Isaiah Jackson to load the bases with two outs, but a ground out to Bullard at third base kept the Arizona shutout alive.
Jonah Giblin took the mound for Arizona State to start the bottom of the fourth inning.
In Arizona’s first at-bat of the half inning, Davis continued his hot night from the plate, doubling to left center. After Romero struck out swinging, Emilio Corona doubled to left field to score Davis, extending Arizona’s lead to 11-0.
Josh Hansell relieved Giblin on the mound with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. But his time on the hill was short. After walking Caulfield and Mason White, Nolan Lebamoff replaced him.
Bingham was the first batter he faced, and he singled through the right side to load the bases. McClaughry then walked to score Caulfield. Davis followed McClaughry by singling to centerfield to score Bingham and White, and extend the Arizona lead to 14-0.
A double from Romero would score McClaughry to give Arizona a 15-run lead heading into the sixth inning.
The start of the bottom of the sixth inning marked yet another pitching change for the Sun Devils, when Austin Humphres took over.
Like the five pitchers before him, he couldn’t stop Arizona’s big night from the plate.
Arizona scored three runs in the inning off a Bingham single to left field that scored Caulfield, a single from Davis that scored Bullard, and a sacrifice fly to right field from Romero scored Bingham.
Christian Bodlovich took over on the hill for Arizona State in the bottom of the seventh, but the onslaught of hits continued.
Bullard hit a line drive homer over the left field wall with two outs in the inning, his fifth hit of the evening.
“I think we treat every game the same,” he said of Arizona’s approach against Arizona State after being swept earlier in the season. “They were a little disrespectful when they beat us, so we took that a little personal, but other than that, we just played.”
Derek Drees came in to relieve Walty to begin the eighth inning.
Brock Peery became the eighth Arizona State pitcher to enter the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
LaLiberte singled off Peery to score Colton Moore, stretching the Wildcats’ lead to 20-0.
George Arias Jr. took the mound for Arizona in the ninth to get the save and secure the shutout.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.