New Arizona coach Chip Hale said he was going to “learn a lot” from the first weekend of the 2022 season, with the Wildcats playing three power-conference teams in a big-league ballpark in Texas.
And what we learned was this team can rake, just like those of Hale’s predecessor.
No. 15 Arizona scored 35 runs in a trio of wins at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas, winning the finale 13-2 over 14th-ranked Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon. It beat Kansas State 8-6 on Friday and blew out Oklahoma 14-4 on Saturday.
The UA was the only squad in the 6-team tournament to go unbeaten, and it marks the second year in a row it has run the table at a Texas tourney. Last season the Wildcats won all four games at the Frisco Classic en route to the College World Series.
Arizona had 16 hits on Sunday, three apiece by Chase Davis—including his first career home run—Tanner O’Tremba and Daniel Susac, with Davis and O’Tremba driving in three runs each. Susac, Nik McClaughry and Noah Turley each drove in two runs.
O’Tremba, who began his career at Texas Tech and played for the Red Raiders in the 2020 College World Series, was 7 of 14 with two home runs and 7 RBI for the weekend.
“We swung the bats really well today,” Hale said.
After managing just one hit through the first four innings, the fifth saw Arizona get five, four for extra bases. Garen Caulfield got things started with a leadoff hustle double, went to third on a balk and scored on McClaughry’s double over the left fielder’s head, then McClaughry came home on a 1-out single by Susac.
O’Tremba, kept up his hot start with an RBI double to plate Susac, then Davis smacked a 2-run home run to right to make it 5-0.
Davis made sure to enjoy his first round-tripper.
Sophomore right-hander Dawson Netz earned his first career victory with five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He retired the first 10 batters and didn’t face trouble until the fifth, when with runners on 1st and 2nd and two out he couldn’t cleanly field a hard bouncer up the middle. That resulted in an infield single, but once he got the ball he fired to Caulfield at third to gun out Texas Tech runner Dalton Porter after he had rounded the base too far.
After Texas Tech scored twice in the sixth, Arizona added two runs in the seventh, three more in the eighth and three more in the ninth for its second double-digit run total in three games. In 2021 the Wildcats scored 10 or more runs in 26 of 63 games.
Righties Trevor Long and Jonathan Guardado finished things off with three scoreless innings of relief, combining to strike out five Red Raider batters.
Arizona will play its home opener Tuesday at 6 p.m. MT against Grand Canyon at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats beat the Antelopes two of three times last season, including a 12-6 win in the NCAA regionals.