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Arizona baseball demolishes ASU in midweek nonconference game


arizona-wildcats-baseball-recap-asu-sun-devils-shutout-scoring-rivalry-territorial-cup-pac12-2023 Arizona Wildcats

What’s more impressive? Scoring 20 runs, throwing a combined shutout or doing both against ASU?

It’s all of them. The only downside was it didn’t come in Pac-12 play.

Arizona steamrolled the Sun Devils 20-0 on Wednesday night in a nonconference game at Hi Corbett Field, at least partially atoning for getting swept in three league games in Phoenix last month.

The 20 runs were the Wildcats’ most against ASU since a 22-11 win in 1986, and it was the first time they posted a shutout against their rivals since a 1-0 triumph in 2012. Both of those seasons ended with the UA winning the College World Series.

“It was a statement game for us,” said right-hander Cam Walty, who tossed seven shutout innings, allowing five hits while striking out seven. “We just kind of felt like the need was to come out and stomp our foot down on them.”

Walty, who threw five shutout frames last week against New Mexico State in his first start, has thrown 21 innings at Hi Corbett Field as a starter and not allowed a run. That includes a 3-hit complete game against the UA last season when he pitched for Nevada.

“Cam is working his way towards the weekend,” UA coach Chip Hale said.

The pitching performance, including clean innings from Derek Drees and George Arias Jr. to finish it off, was especially promising after Arizona (19-15) allowed 25 runs in losing two of three at Washington State last weekend. The Wildcats also scored 25 runs, and with 19 hits against ASU raised their season batting average to .318.

Ten of those hits were for extra bases including five home runs, the most since March 2021. Two of those homers were by Tony Bullard, who has three in the past two games and is 13 for 35 (.371) with three homers, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored in eight games since returning from a concussion.

That concussion came March 25 at ASU when he was hit in the helmet by a pitch. Bullard said that wasn’t what was on his mind when he was at the plate, however.

“They were a little disrespectful when they beat us, so we took that a little personal,” he said. “But other than that, we just played the game how we know how to play. I think we treat every game the same.”

Arizona scored in every innings, something it hadn’t done since the opening weekend of the 2021 season. A 6-run bottom of the first began with Mac Bingham doubling on the first pitch, the start of a 5 for 5 night for the UA’s first 5-hit game since Cal Stevenson did it in 2018.

Chase Davis and Bullard homered in the first, with Davis’ blast his 13th of the season and 31st of his career to move into a tie for ninth on the school’s all-time list. Bingham opened the second with his eighth homer, and Kiko Romero clubbed his 12th a little after that to make it 9-0.

Every starter got at least one hit for Arizona except Garen Caulfield, who was 0 for 3 but still scored three runs via a pair of walks and a hit by pitch.

“Just a tremendous job of hitting,” Hale said. “I think our at-bats have been really good all year. We didn’t score enough runs in game one in Pullman, we didn’t pitch very well in game two and then we put it together in game three. So we just need to put it together, good pitching, good defense and good hitting, for the weekend. This team is is very talented and we just have to play to our talent.”

Arizona returns to Pac-12 play this weekend against last-place Utah (14-21-1, 4-13-1). The Wildcats are 6-12 in the league, good enough for ninth place, with the top nine schools making the Pac-12 Tournament next month in Scottsdale.