It’s fair to say the Arizona Wildcats responded well to their first loss in nearly a month.
The UA matched a season high in runs in a 20-2 blowout victory at Stanford on Saturday afternoon, evening the series at a game apiece and giving the Wildcats (32-12, 16-7) a chance to win a seventh consecutive Pac-12 series.
A night after striking out a season-worst 18 times while managing just nine singles in a 13-inning loss, with only one hit coming after the seventh, Arizona pounded out 15 hits with eight going for extra bases. The Wildcats’ first 12 runs all came with two out, bouncing back after seeing their second 10-game win streak of the season come to an end the night before.
Arizona also made the most of a season-high 14 walks—four by Donta’ Williams, tying a school record in Pac-12 play—and four hit batters, as 10 of those free passes came home to score including all three first-inning runs. The Wildcats scored their first run on a wild pitch before Daniel Susac drove two in with a single.
That was the start of another stellar day for Susac, who hit a solo home run in Arizona’s 6-run second and finished 4 for 5 with five RBI. Eight of his team-best 12 homers are in Pac-12 play, tying Shelley Duncan’s UA freshman record, and his 30 RBI are four behind Duncan’s mark set in 1999.
Also homering for Arizona were Ryan Holgate, who had a 3-run homer in the second and was 2 for 4 with three runs scored, and Nik McClaughry, who hit a solo shot for his first of his career and finished a double short of the cycle with three RBI and three runs scored.
The beneficiary of all that run support was left-hander Garrett Irvin, who improved to 4-1 with seven solid innings of work. Irvin allowed five hits and two walks with five strikeouts, his only blemish was a 2-run homer to Stanford’s Nick Brueser in the second, but after giving up three hits that inning he allowed just one more hit the rest of the way and retired the final 11 Cardinal batters he faced.
Arizona, which moved back ahead of Stanford (25-10, 11-6) for first place in terms of win percentage, can go for that seventh straight series win at 1 p.m. PST Sunday. A victory would also mark the Wildcats’ most in conference play since the 2012 College World Series title team went 20-10.