Arizona Baseball

Final Pac-12 baseball title belongs to Arizona after Summerhill’s walk-off two-run double

Arizona baseball celebrating their Pac-12 Championship (Lori Burkhart/

At the mid-point of the ninth inning, Arizona trailed Oregon State by a run and the thought of getting swept by the Beavers battled the belief of the Wildcats escaping with yet another walk-off win.

The 14th-ranked Wildcats (33-20, 20-10 Pac-12) needed to put together a rally to tie the game against No. 6 Oregon State (41-13, 19-10) and go to extra innings or score two for a walk-off win for the last Pac-12 regular-season championship.

The dramatic rally came to fruition and walk it off they did.

Arizona’s seventh walk-off win of the year — this one on a two-run double by Brendan Summerhill — finished with a 4-3 victory over Oregon State in front of 4,949 fans at Hi Corbett Field to become the regular-season champions of the Pac-12 in the conference’s final year.

“Why not be a walk-off? I mean we’ve been doing it all year. Summerhill’s been part of a lot of them,” Arizona coach Chip Hale said. “I told (director of player development) John DeRouin standing next to me, ‘He could hit one in the gap.’ And I was right for once in my life.”

Starting the bottom of the ninth, leadoff batter Tommy Splaine was nailed by a pitch from Beavers closer Bridger Holmes.

Brandon Rogers struck out trying to bunt and then Holmes walked Maddox Mihalakis, who was in to pinch hit for Casey Hintz.

With Summerhill due up to bat, Oregon State pulled Holmes, replacing him on the mound with Joey Mundt.

Summerhill, on a 2-1 count, knocked a slider from Mundt deep into right center bringing Splaine and Mihalakis across the plate for the win and the championship.

Brendan Summerhill after hitting his walk-off double to give Arizona the win and the Pac-12 championship. (Arizona Athletics photo)

“I think I felt really good all day and got some pitches I could handle,” Summerhill said. “It’s a team effort every single day. We win as a team, we lose as a team.”

Summerhill was the hero but Arizona’s MVP of the game was starter Cam Walty, who kept Oregon State’s dangerous bats mostly silent in 8 1/3 innings.

“None of this happens without Cam Walty,” said Hale.

The senior righty allowed six hits and three runs with eight strikeouts on 105 pitches (74 of those strikes).

“The cutter was part of the pitch tonight, thrown it all year, and so when me and (pitching coach Kevin) Vance knew that at the end, we were like, ‘We are going to keep peppering that,'” Walty said.

Walty about getting replaced in the eighth by Tonko Susac and not getting a chance at a complete game: “When (Hale) came out, I was like, ‘No way,’ and then as soon as Tonko came in, I was like, ‘Oh, we are still good, we are still set.’ I definitely wanted it, but I wanted it for my guys, too.”

Arizona’s defense, which struggled in the first two games of the series, was on point most of the night.

Hintz made a diving catch in the first inning to get projected No.1 draft pick Travis Bazzana out. The catch was so good Walty tipped his cap to Hintz.

The biggest defensive play of the night happened in the ninth inning.

With Elija Hainline on second and Easton Talt on first, Jacob Kieg hit a hard ball toward Mason White at shortstop.

White dove to grab the ball and while still on the ground, quickly threw to Richie Morales at third. Morales reached up and was able to get his toe back on the bag milliseconds before the runner reached the bag. Oregon State challenged, but the call was upheld.

Walty on the defensive play by his team: “I trust my guys, no matter what.”

“I always tell them if they (mess) something up, I’m like you’re making that play nine out of 10 times no matter what. So I know that next time you get that ball, I still trust you. You have to flush it and just go back and make the next play. And so knowing what we had to do today, I knew they were going to be ready.”

With the Pac-12 regular season championship under their cap, the Wildcats, who were picked to finish 9th in the conference in the coaches preseason poll, will get the No.1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Arizona are in a pool with No. 9 Washington and No. 6 California. The Wildcats will open the tournament against No. 9 Washington on Wednesday at 7 p.m at Scottsdale Stadium and will play No. 6 California on Thursday at 7 p.m.

At the conclusion of pool play on Thursday night, the three pool winners will advance to the Friday single-elimination semifinals along with one Wild Card team. The Wild Card will be determined by the best record of the non-advancing teams with any tiebreaker awarded to the highest seeded team (which puts Arizona in a good spot if they don’t win its pool).

The semifinal matchups will pit the highest-seeded team against the lowest-seeded team on one side with the second-highest seed and second-lowest seed on the other. Teams from the same pool, however, will not play each other in the semifinals.

Every game will be televised with Pac-12 Networks on Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday, the 2024 Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m.

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