Arizona Baseball

Chase Davis’ walkoff home run in 10th lifts Arizona over rival ASU

Chase Davis now has a team-leading 12 home runs (Andy Morales/

Chase Davis’ first career walkoff home run was so powerful that the ball pierced the oncoming wind and made its way to the top of the Terry Francona Hitting Center roof beyond the right field wall.

The blast with one out in the 10th inning on a 1-1 count from ASU reliever Blake Pivaroff gave the Wildcats the 7-6 victory in front of 5,663 fans at Hi Corbett Field.

It was fitting the ball reached the top of the Francona facility inasmuch as it was Francona’s birthday Friday. The mob of Arizona players greeting Davis at home plate enhanced the celebration on the special day for the Wildcats.

“It’s actually the first walkoff home run I’ve had in my life; that was like a good time to have it,” Davis said. “No one knows that but that was my first one. To hear all the fans, our biggest supporters, behind us is really awesome.”

Of his ability to hit the ball deep through the wind, Davis said, “I stood at the plate for a little bit like I like to do and I was like, ‘That ball has to go over. It has to go over or else coach (Chip Hale) will chew me out.’ The wind was blowing tonight and we made do regardless of what was going on.”

We made do regardless of what was going on.

He hit that statement out of the park as well because that best describes Arizona’s ability to pull out the win.

The Wildcats took a 4-0 lead three innings into the game only to allow ASU to rally for six unaswered runs before Arizona pushed across two runs in the eighth to tie the game.

Arizona also withstood ASU getting two runners in scoring position in the top of the 10th before Davis came to the plate with one out.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotion — the rollercoaster we talked about — and staying in the middle. I don’t know if we did a good job of that but we did fight,” Hale said of the rivalry game with ASU, of which he has now experienced as a player and twice as a head coach (the Sun Devils won a non-conference game 10-6 against Arizona at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on April 5).

The Wildcats held serve with Pac-12 leaders Oregon State and Oregon, both of which won their games Friday night by one run as well. The Beavers and Ducks lead the Pac-12 with each at 11-5. Arizona is 12-7 in conference play and 27-12 overall. ASU is 8-8 and 19-20.

Drama is expected in this rivalry and that happened in the sixth when ASU first baseman Conor Davis made things chippy by complaining to the first-base umpire that Mac Bingham threw an elbow when he ran by him at first on a ground out.

Replays showed Bingham did bend his arm but it looked like he tried to avoid Conor Davis and not much contact, if at all, occurred.

Conor Davis yelled toward the Arizona dugout, prompting Hale to come out and get Bingham back to the dugout.

In the next inning, Conor Davis came to the plate with a runner on and was greeted by a loud chorus of boos by the Hi Corbett Field crowd.

Conor Davis took a 1-2 count from Quinn Flanagan over the left field wall to put ASU ahead 5-4. After Conor Davis touched home plate, he wildly celebrated with his teammates and motioned to the Hi Corbett Field crowd for more noise.

“Obviously, that was a pretty emotional at-bat and it was getting pretty loud booing him,” Hale said. “You’ve got to give the guy credit. He did a nice job of staying calm. He did a good job of hitting a breaking ball. It happens. It’s baseball.”

ASU increased its lead to 6-4 in the eighth after Ironwood Ridge graduate Nate Baez started the inning with a double and later scored with one out on Hunter Haas’s single.

Baez leads the Pac-12 with 17 doubles. He also reached base for the 17th consecutive game, the longest active streak for ASU. 

Arizona’s bats finally came back to life in the eighth after only getting four hits from the fourth through seventh innings.

Bingham hit a triple to the left-centerfield wall to score Chase Davis, who walked with one out. Tommy Splaine then hit a single up the middle to score Bingham to tie the game at 6.

“We need to keep the offense going,” said Hale, who referenced Arizona’s lineup going dormant for four to five innings at a time while losing two out of three games at Utah last week.

“We’ll be able to stop them but we’ve gotta score. Our energy was much better today.”

Arizona took a 4-0 lead scoring two runs in the second and third innings on Tanner O’Tremba’s two-run single in the second and an RBI single in the third. Garen Caulfield had an RBI single before O’Tremba’s hit.

At that point, Arizona already tallied eight hits.

ASU cut the lead to 4-1 in the fourth after Ethan Long and Conor Davis hit consecutive doubles off Arizona starter TJ Nichols to lead off the inning.

Nichols lost his control — literally — in the fifth inning with two outs.

Consecutive wild pitches forced in two ASU runs by Haas and Joe Lampe. Haas walked and moved to second on a wild pitch before Lampe singled.

After Nichols threw his fourth wild pitch of the inning and walked another batter, he was relieved by Holden Christian, who then threw another wild pitch. He also hit ASU’s Ryan Campos with a pitch to load the bases.

The inning finally ended with Christian striking out Jacob Tobias enabling Arizona to hold on to a 4-3 lead.

Arizona goes into Saturday’s game at 5 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field looking to win the Pac-12 series over ASU for the second consecutive year and fourth time in the last five seasons. Expect some more animated celebrations like those from ASU’s Conor Davis and Arizona’s Chase Davis.

Chase Davis did his best Ray Lewis dance impression and flipped his helmet in the air before he was mobbed by his teammates at home plate in the 10th.

“It’s a rivalry weekend. It’s a rivalry game,” said Hale, who was 8-16 against ASU as a player at Arizona from 1984-87. “Listen, when the school from up north comes down here or we go up there, you know it’s going to be emotional.”

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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