clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona baseball slugs way to win at Grand Canyon in first road game

6 in a row going into Pac-12 play

arizona-wildcats-baseball-recap-final-score-grand-canyon-antelopes-pac12-phoenix-home-runs-2023 Arizona Athletics

PHOENIX—Arizona will take a 6-game win streak into Pac-12 play this weekend, and the last of those nonconference wins could end up paying off in the long run.

“It was like a playoff game,” UA shortstop Nik McClaughry said after the Wildcats’ wild 12-10 win at Grand Canyon on Tuesday night. “I think this was a great way to get us going, start off the week strong and we’ll be ready to play on Friday.”

Arizona (9-3) clubbed four home runs, two by Chase Davis, and had 17 hits, but a combination of inconsistent pitching and uncharacteristically (for this season, so far) defense kept the game close down the stretch. Grand Canyon (8-4) had the tying run at the plate with no out in the bottom of the 10th before Trevor Long closed it out for his third save of 2023 and 10th of his career, which moved him into 10th on the UA career list.

“I think anytime you win it’s good,” Arizona coach Chip Hale said. “I just don’t I don’t think we played our best defense tonight. We pitched okay. They hit a lot of balls hard against us. But like I told the team, this is one of the hardest places to win. They’ve won a lot of big games here already this year. They have a really good team, and they got a great offense. So we’re super happy that we were able to come out with a victory.”

The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-0 lead, scoring four in the first and three in the second. The opening frame was punctuated by a 3-run homer from Garen Caulfield, his first of the season, that landed on 35th Avenue on the other side of the wall in left.

The first of Davis’ two homers highlighted the 3-run second, with his 2-run shot going over the 30-foot wall in center. He notched his sixth homer of the year, and second 2-homer game, with a 2-run opposite field shot in the sixth, putting the UA up 11-6.

Arizona’s fourth homer came in the seventh from freshman Mason White, who had struck out his first three at-bats and was down 0-2 before working the count to 2-2.

And on the next pitch, White smoked it to left for his first collegiate homer for a 12-7 edge.

The UA needed all those homers, and most of its hits, because the pitching was mostly subpar.

Starter Aiden May lasted only three innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and five hits. The unearned run came by his own doing, as he fired to first as GCU’s Jacob Wilson was halfway to second on a steal and Kiko Romero was not expecting a throw and it got past him and up the line to bring in a run.

Nevada transfer Cam Walty, making his UA debut, was tagged for three runs in 1.2 innings, and Chris Barraza gave up two in two frames and Long yielded one in the ninth. The only Arizona pitchers not to give up any scoring were Casey Hintz, who finished the sixth for Walty, and Dawson Netz, who struck out the side in the fifth to pick up the win.

The Wildcats also committed a season-high three errors, leading to three unearned runs, and a fielding miscue by surehanded shortstop Nik McClaughry opened the door for GCU to have a chance in the ninth.

McClaughry looked like he was trying to start a game-ending double play before he had secured the ball, kicking it away and giving the Roadrunners two on with one out, and the next batter drove in a run to cut Arizona’s lead to two. But McClaughry recovered to record the putout on a fielder’s choice and then corral a grounder and fire to first to end it.

“I have a routine getting you back to be ready to get the next one, and that’s what I did,” he said.

Arizona returns to action Friday when it opens Pac-12 play against Cal at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats took two of three from the Golden Bears (8-3) in Berkeley last March.