Arizona Baseball

Arizona drops opening game of Tucson Regional to Grand Canyon

Brendan Summerhill dives back to first base during Arizona’s 9-4 loss to Grand Canyon (Stephanie van Latum/Special to

The last time Arizona and Grand Canyon met was on April 30. GCU lit up the Wildcats 24-8 in the mid-week matchup scoring 12 runs in the seventh inning to get the run-rule win.

On Friday night, the score didn’t get out of hand, there was no run-rule, but the result was the same. The Antelopes took advantage of walks, hit batters, mistakes on defense and a game-opening home run to grab the 9-4 win over overall No. 13 seed Arizona (36-22) in the NCAA Tucson Regional.

“We just didn’t play our best game tonight,” Arizona coach Chip Hale said. “Usually, we’ll make those plays to keep it close and give us a chance in the ninth. But tonight, we couldn’t do it. We did not play our best defense tonight.”

Arizona’s loss to GCU (35-23) sends it to the elimination bracket and a Saturday showdown with Dallas Baptist (44-14) at 1:00 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.

The Wildcats will need to string together four wins in three days to win the regional to move on to the Super Regionals.

Arizona has not advanced to the next round in the NCAA tournament after losing the first game, a string of 14 times dating to 1961.

“When we were in the chase for the conference title, we were constantly in that position and that feeling,” Mason White said about Arizona in a do-or-die situation. “Just playing furiously and playing with your back against the wall and things like that. So we’re not scared.”

In the regional opener, Arizona decided to switch up their pitching rotation giving Clark Candiotti the nod. Candiotti, who usually starts on Saturdays, struggled to control his pitches in his six inning outing including giving up a leadoff game opening solo home run to GCU left fielder Tyler Wilson.

GCU added another run in the second inning when Alton Gyselman put down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt.

Arizona took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Maddox Mihalakis struck out swinging, but reached first base on a passed ball.

After Blake McDonald flied out to right, Richie Morales hit a sharp single that nailed GCU pitcher Grant Richardson in the leg and ricocheted to the left infield advancing Mihalakis to second.

A Tommy Splaine walk loaded the bases. Another walk issued to Easton Breyfogle brought Mihalakis home.

Emilio Corona, back in the starting rotation after suffering a hand injury in the Oregon State series last month, hit a pop-up that was mishandled by the Lopes, scoring Morales.

Arizona’s final run of the inning came off of a Brendan Summerhill single to first that brought Splaine across the plate.

GCU took a 5-3 lead in the sixth inning and never looked back. They added a run in the seventh and eighth innings and secured the game with a two-run ninth.

Arizona was able to add one final run in the sixth inning when White doubled to left center and McDonald singled to score White.

The seven walks and two hit batters were the most Arizona allowed in a game all season.

“The walks and hit batsmen are not things that have been typical of us,” Hale said. “We’ve been better strike throwers.”

Arizona will put their regional fate in the hands of senior right-hander Cam Walty on Saturday against DBU.

Walty is 8-1, holds a 2.81 ERA and has never lost a start at Hi Corbett.

“He’s pitched great all year, so he’s been our kind of our stopper,” Hale said on Walty.

“He’s gonna give us a chance, but we’re gonna have to play better behind him. And we’re going to have to swing the bats a little better.”


8,798 fans packed into the Juice Box on Friday night. A sell out. The largest crowd ever to watch an Arizona game at Hi Corbett Field.

Sold out crowd of 8,798 for the NCAA Baseball Tucson Regional (Lori Burkhart
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