Grand Canyon spoiled Chip Hale’s first game at Hi Corbett Field last month. On Tuesday, Arizona got revenge.
The Wildcats scored five runs between the sixth and eighth innings, after being held hitless through the first five, and paired that with stellar pitching from start to finish in a 5-3 win at GCU. The win avenges a 19-3 home loss to the Antelopes on Feb. 22 and gets the UA’s 5-game road trip off on a strong note.
Arizona (18-7) could do nothing through the first five against GCU right-hander Carter Young, who allowed only two walks through 5.1 innings before Mac Bingham smacked a 1-out solo home run over the wall in left to tie it at one. Two batters later, Daniel Susac roped one over the batter’s eye to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
Arizona added one in the seventh on a 2-out RBI single from Garen Caulfield, then made it 5-1 in the eighth on an RBI double from Chase Davis—after the GCU centerfielder fell down going back to the wall—and a run-scoring single from Tommy Splaine.
GCU scored a run in the bottom of the first on a fielder’s choice after getting the first two runners on via singles. The score shouldn’t have happened, as Arizona appeared to turn a double play earlier in the inning, but the first base umpire ruled Jacob Wilson safe at first despite replays showing the throw beating him.
UA starter Chandler Murphy went four innings, the righty allowing three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in his best outing since returning from a forearm injury. Freshman lefty Eric Orloff came on and was stellar for 3.1 innings, retiring the first 10 he faced before allowing a walk and a single with 1 out in the eighth. He was relieved by closer Holden Christian, who got the first batter to fly to left and the second to hit one to Bingham in center, but Bingham had the ball go off the heel of his glove, scoring two to get the Antelopes within 5-3.
Christian walked the leadoff man to start the bottom of the ninth, again bringing the tying run to the plate, but then struck out the next three GCU batters on 11 pitches to earn his fourth save. Orloff, who started the first GCU game and got the loss, picked up his first collegiate victory.
Arizona continues its road trip Friday at Washington, playing three in Seattle before facing ASU in Tempe in a nonconference game next Tuesday. The Wildcats’ next home game is April 10 against Washington State.