It took three tries, but the Arizona Wildcats have managed to beat a team from the Big Ten Conference.
Two home runs by junior Blake Paugh paced Arizona to a 3-2 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament in San Diego.
Paugh belted a solo homer to left in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 1, then two frames later hit a two-run shot to put the Wildcats up 3-1.
Arizona (5-2) only had six hits, two each by Paugh and junior Donta Williams, but that’s all it needed with a strong pitching effort by starter Chandler Murphy and relievers Blake Peyton and Vince Vannelle.
Murphy, a freshman right-handed, allowed two hits and one unearned run while striking out seven and walking none over 5.1 innings to improve to 2-0. Freshman lefty Peyton went the next 1.2 innings, allowing a homer to start the eighth before making way for Vannelle, who was untouchable over the final two innings.
The senior righty struck out two in earning the save, and in three appearances spanning six innings this season has 11 strikeouts.
Arizona pitchers have fanned 91 batters in seven games, with at least 11 punchouts in every outing.
The Wildcats are now 1-2 against Big Ten schools, having lost to Minnesota on Monday in Tempe and Iowa on Saturday in San Diego. They went 2-1 in the Tony Gwynn Legacy, beating Southern Illinois on Friday.
Arizona returns to Hi Corbett Field on Wednesday when it hosts Central Michigan at 6 p.m. MT.