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Arizona baseball drops finale vs. UCLA, loses first Pac-12 home series since 2019

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It was Bark in the Park Day at Hi Corbett Field, where it turned out to be a rough afternoon for Arizona.

The Wildcats lost 7-3 to UCLA on Sunday afternoon, their third loss in the last four games. They lost the weekend series 2-1 to the Bruins, the first time they’ve dropped a Pac-12 series at home since April 2019 against Cal.

After three weekends of conference play, though, Arizona (17-7) is in good shape with a 6-3 league record, one game better than a year ago when it won the Pac-12 title. It is tied for second with Oregon State and a game behind Oregon, the teams the Wildcats finish the regular season against.

“Our goal is to win two out of three of everything,” coach Chip Hale said. “If you can win two out of three, and get to 20 (Pac-12) wins, you have a good chance to get to the postseason. So we were there because we banked a little credit with Stanford by getting the sweep.”

Arizona managed just six hits, all singles, the first time all season it didn’t record an extra-base hit. It was also the first time in 2022 that both Daniel Susac and Tanner O’Tremba failed to get a hit after coming in with a combined 83.

“I think that they’re gonna come up clutch for us a lot, and I think a lot of us are gonna have to come in clutch when they can’t come in clutch,” said shortstop Nik McClaughry, who was 1 for 4. “We’re a team and we will win and lose as a team.”

The Wildcats’ runs came in on a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and a double play. The first two tied the game at 2 in the fifth, but when UA right-hander Dawson Netz allowed a 2-run home run to Josh Hahn in the top of the sixth that proved to be the difference.

“I thought Dawson did a good job, we probably should have taken him out after the fifth and just let him go five and moved on from there,” Hale said. “His velocity was way down in the sixth. But he’s he’s healthy and that’s a good thing. I think he gave us a chance to win, which on Sunday is all you ask.”

Netz walked one and hit three batters, while six Arizona relievers combined to issue five walks and hit two more Bruins. Four of UCLA’s runs were scored by players who reached without swinging the bat.

“We’re definitely are a little out of whack right now,” Hale said. “We need to get guys lined up to get to (Holden) Christian.”

Arizona’s next five games are on the road, starting with Tuesday at Grand Canyon. The Wildcats lost 19-3 to the Antelopes in their home opener last month.

“The main thing in baseball is you got to play against the game, you can’t play against the other team” McClaughry said. “Play every game like it’s the same game, playing against Stanford, UCLA, GCU.”

The Wildcats visit Washington next weekend, then play a nonconference game April 5. Their next homestand begins April 8 vs. Washington State.