Arizona Baseball

Arizona relinquishes first place in Pac-12 with loss to Oregon State

Arizona right fielder Brendan Summerhill (Arizona Athletics photo)

At the beginning of its three-game series against Oregon State, Arizona needed one win to secure the regular-season Pac-12 baseball championship.

After losing second game 16-1 on Friday night in Hi Corbett Field, Arizona is behind Oregon State (41-12, 19-9) by a half-game and down to its last chance to win the Pac-12 title in the series finale Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

Oregon State cashed in on a night of errors and mental breakdowns by Arizona (32-20, 19-10) scoring five unearned runs.

 “I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised. These are young kids. Maybe we’re pressing. Maybe we’re tired. Maybe we’re beat up. But that’s a good team across the way, they’re smelling blood. We just try to put it behind us and hopefully come out and play better baseball,” said Arizona coach Chip Hale.

Two of the Wildcats’ four errors come in the first inning when third baseman Richie Morales had difficulty fielding a hard hit ball that knocked his glove off and then first baseman Andrew Cain had the ball go under the webbing in his glove.

The Beavers scored two runs each in the first two innings followed by two in the fifth, four in the sixth, three in the seventh and three in the ninth.

Arizona’s only run came in the sixth inning when Garen Caulfield singled, scoring Morales.

Clark Candiotti pitched five innings allowing six runs, eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts on 104 pitches.

With three injured outfielders, the Wildcats started pitcher Casey Hintz in center field.

“He’s a very good defender whether he’s playing shortstop or out in the outfield he’s one of our better defenders,” said Hale on putting Hintz in center.

Friday also saw first baseman/catcher Tommy Splaine on the mound for the Wildcats in the ninth inning afer the game was out of hand.

Splaine notched the final out of the game, striking out Gavin Turley, one of the Pac-12 leaders in RBIs.

Senior right hander Cam Walty will start for Arizona on Saturday.

Walty leads the conference in wins with eight.

“We just try to put it behind us and hopefully come out and play better baseball. We just didn’t, it’s just not good baseball at any level,” Hale said ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Beavers.

Saturday is also Senior Night for the Wildcats.

Game Extras:

A few scenarios for Arizona’s path heading into the final game of the regular season.

*Arizona beats Oregon State – it is the Pac-12 regular-season champs and get the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

*Arizona loses and Oregon loses to WSU – Arizona finishes second and gets the No. 2 seed in the tourney.

*Arizona loses and Oregon wins – Arizona and Oregon tie for second with Oregon holding the tie-breaker, Arizona finishes third.

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