Arizona Baseball

Arizona defeats Washington, securing a spot in Pac-12 tournament semifinals

Anthony “Tonko” Susac (Arizona Athletics photo)

Winning the Pac-12 regular-season championship set Arizona up as the No. 1 seed in the final Pac-12 tournament. As the No. 1 seed, the Wildcats were matched up against the last team to make the tournament field — No. 9 Washington.

Pac-12 Coach of the Year Chip Hale and his Wildcats, needing just one win in the tournament to advance to Friday night’s semifinals, held on to defeat the Huskies 6-5 in Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday night.

Arizona (34-20) and Washington (19-31-1) last met in Seattle on April 28. The Wildcats led 8-3 in the eighth before Washington put together a comeback with the Huskies taking the win 9-8 in 13 innings.

Arizona will go for the Pool B win on Thursday at 7:00 against No. 6 Cal. The Golden Bears (35-18) are also 1-0 in Pool B after beating Washington 12-0 in seven innings on Tuesday.

The Wildcats swept the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif., from April 5-7.

“Sometimes it takes a little slap, a little punch to get you going,” Hale said of Arizona’s two losses at Washington that ended an 11-game winning streak against conference teams.

“We had a hard time with Washington up in Seattle. I mean, they just kept coming at us. It was the one team that really got to our bullpen a little bit and they did again.”

In the ninth inning Wednesday night, with Arizona leading 6-3, Washington kept coming at Arizona again.

The Huskies mounted a comeback scoring two runs before Anthony “Tonko” Susac got the last Husky batter to ground out to short stop.

Wanting to save their three weekend starters for later in the tournament, Arizona started left-hander Bradon Zastrow, a former Pima College standout who usually comes out of the bullpen.

An all-bullpen outing for the Wildcats had Zastrow, Tony PlutaDawson Netz and Kyler Heyne go two innings each with Susac closing.

Left-hander Jackson Kent was slated to start against No. 6 Cal Thursday, but with the win Hale and the coaching staff are weighing whether to follow their normal rotation or give Kent an extra day of rest.

“As of right now, he’s starting,” said Hale of Kent concerning the Thursday night pitching decision. “Whatever we decide to do, we want to win this.”

Right-hander Clark Candiotti is slated to start in Friday’s semifinal which would set up right-hander Cam Walty to start Saturday’s Pac-12 title game.

Walty was the starting pitcher when Arizona secured the regular-season championship against Oregon State last Saturday night. Walty, the conference’s leader in wins at 8-1, pitched 8 1/3 innings in that game and limited Oregon State to two runs on six hits and served up eight strikeouts.

The Wildcats fell behind the Huskies 2-0 in the first inning on Wednesday night when Zastrow hit a batter and then gave up a two-run home run to left fielder AJ Guerrero.

Garen Caulfield knocked a leadoff solo home run to right center in the second inning cutting Washington’s lead in half.

Arizona took the lead in the third inning when Salpointe graduate Mason White blasted a 443-foot three-run homer over the Charro Lodge well beyond the right field wall. The home run put Arizona ahead 4-2.

White’s home run was hit so hard and traveled so far everyone in Scottsdale Stadium wondered if it ever landed.

In last year’s Pac-12 tournament, Chase Davis hit a home run to the same spot.

“You know it’s funny, I hit it, and I was like, ‘Wow, it looks a lot like the ball Chase hit against Stanford, so it was kind of a flashback,’” said White.

The home run was White’s 18th of the year. He ended the night going 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

Arizona’s final two runs came in the sixth inning off of a Summerhill single to left and a White single to right.

Easton Breyfogle returned for the first time since his hamstring injury on April 27 at Washington.

Breyfogle, who usually plays left field, started in right field against the Huskies.

“I felt good,” Breyfogle said.

“Obviously a little timid going for a couple of the fly balls. I felt a tweak a couple times, not today but in practice, so it’s good playing a full game without feeling anything.”


Never fear, the banana phone was there.

Clark Candiotti with the banana phone while Arizona coach Chip Hale is being interviewed by the Pac-12 Network ( Arizona Athletics photo)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top