If the Arizona Wildcats somehow manage to sneak into the NCAA tournament, it will mean playing all their games away from home. That has been a tough task for them this season, having dropped 14 of 18 road tilts prior to this weekend’s trip to Penn State.
But Saturday’s 9-5 win over the Nittany Lions gave the Wildcats (29-24) their first road sweep of the season and continued their improbable push toward the postseason.
Now riding a seven-game win streak, Arizona has risen to 44th in the RPI rankings. It began the week at 67.
Like the previous two wins in Happy Valley—11-2 on Friday, 15-5 on Saturday—Sunday’s win was a mix of potent offense and solid starting pitching. The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first on just one hit, benefitting from four walks and a hit by pitch, then made it 8-0 in the fourth behind a two-run double from Cameron Cannon and a two-run home run by Nick Quintana.
Quintana, who was 3 for 5 with four RBI, leads the Pac-12 with 72 RBI, while Cannon’s two doubles gave him a conference-leading 29 for the season.
Quinn Flanagan (7-3) struck out a career-high eight batters and allowed just three hits and a walk over six shutout innings. His effort follows seven shutout innings from Andrew Nardi on Saturday and 6.1 innings of one-run by ball Randy Labaut on Friday.
Arizona finishes the regular season with a three-game series beginning Thursday at Washington State, which is last in the Pac-12 with a 3-23-1 league record. Another sweep would put the Wildcats above .500 in conference play at 15-14.