If the Arizona Wildcats indeed make it into the NCAA baseball tournament, Friday’s comeback win at last-place Washington State might end up being the one that put them over the top.
Justin Wylie’s three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning proved to be the difference in Arizona’s 10-4 win in Pullman, its 10th in a row and 12th in the past 13 games. The opposite-field shot came immediately after Arizona (31-24, 14-14 Pac-12) had allowed three runs in the bottom of the fifth to fall behind 4-2.
Wylie went 2 for 4 with four RBI, plating a run during Arizona’s five-run ninth that provided some cushion to what had been a one-run lead for three innings. He was one of four Wildcats with multi-hit games including Cameron Cannon, who was 4 for 4 with a two-run homer in the second.
Vince Vanelle (2-2) got the win despite allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded walk and wild pitch after coming in for starter Andrew Nardi. Vanelle ended up throwing two scoreless innings, outside of the inherited runners, and three other pitchers combined for 2.1 clean frames in relief.
That included Quinn Flanagan, who was slated to be the starter in Saturday’s regular-season finale. Flanagan came on with the tying run on second and two outs in the eighth and induced a groundout on the only pitch he threw.
Arizona, which has outscored its opponents 116-38 during the nine-game win streak, can make it 10 in a row and really put pressure on the NCAA tournament committee with a victory Saturday. That would also give the Wildcats a winning record in Pac-12 play, something they lacked a year ago and contributed to them missing out on the tourney despite a 34-22 record.