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Arizona baseball hosts Stanford in early Pac-12 showdown

arizona-wildcats-baseball-preview-stanford-cardinal-pac12-college-world-series-2022-analysis Arizona Athletics

On its way to winning the program’s first conference title since 2012, Arizona dropped two of three at Stanford in early May. The Wildcats ended up making the College World Series, but so did the Cardinal, who knocked them out of the tourney after just two games.

Now comes the chance for revenge.

No. 16 UA (13-4, 2-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 12 (9-5, 1-2) in a 3-game series beginning Saturday night at Hi Corbett. The opener is set for a 5 p.m. PT first pitch.

Arizona has won its last three, including the final two games of a series at Cal, while Stanford dropped two of three at home to Oregon to open Pac-12 play. In its last five contests the Wildcats are averaging 11.2 runs per game, drawing 34 walks in that span to go with 70 hits.

Sophomore catcher Daniel Susac leads the country in hits, with 33, while Tanner O’Tremba is second nationally with 32. That duo has also combined for 19 doubles, three triples, five home runs—two in one inning by Susac last Sunday at Cal—and 45.

Yet it’s been the at-bats from the bottom of the order that have stood out of late. Center fielder Mac Bingham is on a 5-game hitting streak, raising his average to .269, while infielder Garen Caulfield has also hit in five straight. Noah Turley has homered in two straight games, both of which saw him record multiple hits, after not playing two in a row, and before suffering a knee injury infielder Jack Grant had six hits, six runs scored and six RBI over a 3-game span.

Stanford brings a 3.41 staff ERA to Hi Corbett, with all three scheduled starters sporting an ERA below 4.00. That includes Saturday night starter Alex Williams, a senior right-hander who shut Arizona down in Palo Alto in May and also got the win over the Wildcats in the CWS elimination game.

The UA will open with sophomore righty TJ Nichols, who is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and has 27 strikeouts in 22 innings. Lefty Garrett Irvin (2-1, 3.32) will go Sunday at 12 p.m. PT and righty Dawson Netz (2-0, 3.93) gets the start for Monday’s 6 p.m. PT finale. All three games are being shown on the Pac-12 Network.

Arizona is 78-117 all-time against Stanford, last taking a series from the Cardinal in 2016.