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Arizona baseball rallies to beat New Mexico in final pre-conference tuneup

arizona-wildcats-baseball-college-new-mexico-lobos-recap-susac-grant-pac12-stats-2022 Arizona Athletics

On Sunday, Arizona dropped its first home series in nearly three years. Late on Tuesday, it was in jeopardy of dropping a third straight game at Hi Corbett Field for the first time in almost four seasons.

Then the bottom of the seventh inning happened.

Arizona scored eight runs after the stretch, six of those coming on 3-run home runs from Daniel Susac and Jack Grant, to fuel a 12-5 win over New Mexico to snap a 2-game skid.

It was the final contest of a 10-game homestand and the last game before the Wildcats (10-3) dive into Pac-12 play. The defending conference champions open the league slate Friday at Cal.

New Mexico (4-8) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third on three hits and a wild pitch against UA starter Anthony Susac, who allowed five runs (four earned) and nine hits but struck out eight in 5.1 innings.

Arizona got a run back in the bottom of the third and then tied it in the fifth on an RBI triple from Nik McClaughry, who was 4 for 4 with three runs scored from the leadoff spot, and a Daniel Susac sacrifice fly. New Mexico’s Lenny Ashby Jr. hit a solo homer with one out in the sixth, and the Lobos added another run that frame on a passed ball.

The bottom of the seventh saw the UA send 12 men to the plate, with Grant getting things started via a leadoff single. McClaughry singled, then Daniel Susac lined a pitch 113 mph off the bat for his first homer of the season, giving the Wildcats a 6-5 lead.

Garen Caulfield brought two in with a 2-out, 2-strike single to center, upping the lead to 8-5, then Grant hit his first career home to make it 11-5.

The freshman third baseman, who had four hits entering the game, finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Two days ago he was playing with gauze shoved up his nostrils after breaking his nose in pregame drills on Saturday.

Arizona finished with 13 hits but, just as important, more walks (six) than strikeouts (five). The UA was averaging 10.6 strikeouts per game, including 16 in one of the weekend losses to Texas State.

Freshman left-hander Javyn Pimental picked up the win with two perfect innings of relief.

Arizona’s next home game is March 19 vs. Stanford, the team that eliminated it from the College World Series in Omaha last June. The Wildcats’ next four games are on the road, playing three at Cal and then visiting Pacific on Monday.