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Arizona baseball opens 5-game road trip at Grand Canyon

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Losers of three of its last four, Arizona heads out on a 5-game road trip that could either provide an opportunity to get back on track or steer the ship further off course. And the first destination will involve an opponent that has already gotten the best of the Wildcats.

The UA (17-7) plays Tuesday night at Grand Canyon, who on Feb. 22 won 19-3 at Hi Corbett Field to spoil the home debut of coach Chip Hale. That’s one of five home games Arizona has lost already this season, including two of three to UCLA over the weekend, while on the road it is 3-2.

Arizona hasn’t won at GCU (16-9) since 2019 when it survived a 14-13 game that last more than 4 ½ hours and featured 30 walks. The Wildcats lost 5-4 in 10 innings to the Antelopes in Phoenix last year.

“We obviously know they’re good, and they’re gonna be excited to play us,” Hale said after Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Stanford.

GCU is led by sophomore infielder Jacob Wilson, who is hitting .402 with eight home runs and 34 RBI. His 43 hits are tied for 7th-most in the country, one behind Arizona catcher Daniel Susac’s 44.

Right-hander Chandler Murphy will make his third start, with Hale saying he can go up to 60 pitches. Murphy, who is coming back from a forearm injury, has only pitched 1.2 innings in two previous outings.

The Wildcats will stay in Phoenix afterward until traveling to Seattle to play three at Washington Friday through Sunday. They’ll come back to Tucson but then bus to ASU for a nonconference game on April 5.

Arizona, at 6-3 in the Pac-12, is a game out of first place. The Wildcats were 5-4 after three conference series last season en route to winning the outright league title with a 21-9 record.