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Arizona baseball: Zach Gibbons finishes just shy of Pac-12 Batting Title

The Wildcats senior outfielder was so close to finishing his college career as Pac-12 batting champ

zach gibbons Jason Bartel

Ultimately, the Arizona Wildcats weren't playing for much in Hawaii to finish the year other than building momentum into the postseason as a team.

But on the individual side, there was a huge honor at stake...the Pac-12 batting title.

It was a two man race. Arizona right fielder Zach Gibbons was going head-to-head with USC outfielder David Oppenheim. Entering Sunday's action, Gibbons had a 5 point lead.

"I heard someone talking about that and I said 'Gibby, I don't think they stop counting the stats 'til the end of the year'," Arizona head coach Jay Johnson joked. "And hopefully we're going to play a lot more games so you've got a lot of opportunities to crush it."

"Yeah we knew," Cody Ramer said if the team had been talking about it. "That was the first thing we looked at right after the game. We wanted to see how SC's guy did and how Gibby's average hit."

"Pretty soon," Gibbons added about how quickly they pulled the USC box score up after their win on Sunday.

Unfortunately for Gibbons, USC had the second-best offensive output in school history on Sunday, putting 31 runs on ASU to close out their season.

"I don't know what that was all about," Ramer said about USC getting 31 runs. "That was unbelievable. We saw that too and we were like 'Oh man'."

"That was pretty insane," Gibbons added. "I texted my friend Chris Beall who plays for ASU about it and was like 'What happened?' and he was like 'We just didn't have it that day' but it was insane seeing 31 runs scored."

Oppenheim had no small part in the destruction of Sun Devil pitching, going 3-for-3 in the early going, allowing USC head coach Dan Hubbs to pull his star player with a final season batting average of .387. To give you an idea of how early Oppenheim exited, his replacement David Edson went 2-for-4.

Gibbons was 2-for-4 himself on Sunday, closing the year with a .385 batting average, two points shy of Oppenheim.

"It was a nail-biter, but shows how competitive the Pac-12 is in hitting," Ramer added.

"My dad already had me texted saying that I just missed it, but it doesn't really matter. We're in postseason, they're not," Gibbons tacked on.

As it stands, Gibbons needs 13 more hits to reach the top ten of Arizona's all-time single season hits leaderboard. Considering he had ten in three days out in Hawaii, it's not far-fetched to think he'll catch Alex Mejia and Lynn Garrett, who are tied with 97, especially if the Wildcats can get out of the Lafayette Regional.