Arizona Baseball

Arizona loses to Cal in final Pac-12 pool game, advances to semifinals against Stanford

Arizona left fielder Brandon Rogers dives to catch the ball – one of two athletic catches of the night for Rogers (Arizona Athletics photo)

SCOTTSDALE — In Thursday night’s final pool-play game of the Pac-12 baseball tournament, No. 6 Cal needed a win to grab the final spot in the semifinals at Scottsdale Stadium.

Arizona, as the No. 1 seed, secured its spot in the semis with its win over No. 9 Washington on Wednesday night.

The Bears (36-18), played with the urgency needed to advance, looked in control from the first pitch, taking a 3-0 lead off of a three-run home run from Peyton Schulze in the second inning

It was a lead the Golden Bears never relinquished in their 7-5 win over Arizona to advance to the semifinals against No. 4 USC (30-27) at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Scottsdale Stadium.

Arizona (34-21) will play No. 8 Stanford (22-32) at 7 p.m. in a reversal of last year’s Pac-12 semifinals when the No. 8 Wildcats beat the No. 1 Cardinal.

“It’s going be a tough game,” Hale said of the matchup with Stanford. “They’re hot. They’re desperate. They’re playing for their lives, so they’re gonna send everybody they can out there to pitch against us. Probably run some guys longer than we’re used to seeing them on the scouting reports. Those are always dangerous teams, so it’ll be a good game.”

Schulze had two homers for Cal in Thursday’s game.

Cal’s win knocked the Pac-12 preseason favorite No. 2 seeded Oregon State out of the tournament.

Arizona, looking listless for most of the game, struggled at the plate and received a less than stellar start from pitcher Jackson Kent, who was one of the best starters in the conference early in the season.

“He’s not been up to what Jackson Kent had started out the year,” Arizona head coach Chip Hale said about his starting weekend rotation pitcher.

“It’s been a run of mediocre outings, really, to be honest with you. He has to get better.”

Cal’s starting left-handed pitcher Luke Short held Arizona to five baserunners in the first five innings throwing change-ups at the Wildcats — a pitch from left-handed pitchers that seems to be Arizona’s kryptonite.

Arizona’s first run came in the fourth inning when Maddox Mihalakis flied out to deep left field scoring Richie Morales from third base.

Mason White opened the sixth inning with a solo blast over the Charro Lodge that looked just like the home run he hit the previous night against Washington.

Arizona trailed Cal 7-2 headed into the eighth inning. The Bears appeared to have the game in hand until the Wildcats showed some life after Mihalakis hit a three-run home run to right field getting Arizona within 7-5.

A ninth-inning rally for a possible ninth walk-off wasn’t to be for Arizona. With one out and Brendan Summerhill on first, Morales hit into a double-play to end the game.

“It’s disappointing the way we started, I thought we finished strong, so that’s a positive,” said Hale, “We’ve been just easing into games offensively, and we’re just trying to figure out what the issue is and how we can do a better job of preparing them.”

Mihalakis echoed his coaches thoughts.

“Today, I felt like we were kind of just a bit down,” he said. “And it happens, especially in this game where we kind of know we’re going (to) tomorrow anyways, but that’s something that we got to fix, gotta get the energy out. When this team has energy and we have that presence in the dugout, we’re a really, really good team.”

Brandon Rogers‘ defense was a bright spot for Arizona. Rogers laid out on two athletic catches in left field that not many would have corralled.


Arizona has a banana hat!

New addition to Arizona’s dugout. The bandana hat (AZ Desert Swarm photo)
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