Coming into the Utah series, Arizona’s offense was on a 10-game double-digit hitting streak. Friday night, that streak increased to 11 games in Wildcats’ 14-9 win over the Utes at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats, who have out scored opponents 47-13 in their three-game winning streak, have won six of their last eight games.
Arizona (20-15, 7-12) utilized five pitchers, holding the Utes scoreless after the sixth inning.
Starter Jackson Kent struggled in 1 1/3 innings pitched and was replaced by TJ Nichols. Nichols pitched four innings allowing four runs. Eric Orloff, Derek Drees and Chris Barraza also saw time on the mound.
Arizona coach Chip Hale on his pitchers ” Jackson just didn’t have it. TJ came in and gave us some outs. It’s just about getting outs. Derek Drees stopped all the momentum and did a great job.”
Hale on the momentum coming off of the historic 20-0 win over Arizona State on Wednesday “Momentum is about your pitching. I think we felt that way starting and then it got a little bit hairy there at the start and then TJ came in and mellowed it out for a while, got the guys back”.
Trailing 9-5 to the Utes (14-22, 4-14-1) in the sixth inning, Arizona’s offense came to life, scoring six runs.
That offensive explosion started when Mason White executed a lead off bunt advancing to first.
Tony Bullard followed with his fourth home run in three games. A massive bomb that went 479 feet over left center.
With bases loaded, Chase Davis hit a single bringing Tyler Casagrande home.
Kiko Romero reached first on a fielder’s choice that scored Mac Bingham. Tying the game at nine.
Tommy Splain grounded out to second which plated Nik McClaughry, giving Arizona their first lead of the game at 10-9.
The final run of the inning came on a Garen Caulfield triple to right field that brought Romero home making it 11-9 at the end of six innings.
Arizona added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Caulfield singled and Casagrande reached on an error by Utah’s short stop. Romero, Davis and Splaine scored.
Caulfield, starting for the first time since being pulled in the Washington series, went 3 for 5 with three RBIs.
After the game Caulfield reflected on how he was able to get his bat going. “(Utah reliever) Zac McCleve, he’s got really good stuff and he pitched against us well last year, I just made a couple of adjustments and I remember what it looked like last year so I was able to have good play against him.”
Game two in the series is Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.