After getting swept at home by Oregon at the start of this month, including a game in which Arizona blew a 10-0 lead, Chase Davis turned to one of his favorite phrases to explain the Wildcats’ struggles.
“It’s just baseball,” he said after the ninth of what would become 10 consecutive Pac-12 losses. “I’ve seen it before and this is how it is. We’re going to turn it around.”
The Wildcats are 8-2 since dropping those 10 straight conference games, winning their last five including Sunday afternoon’s 9-3 victory over Utah at Hi Corbett Field to complete the series sweep. Arizona (22-15, 9-12) has won seven in a row at home.
“Guess what? It’s baseball, still,” Davis said. “It’s going good, though, it’s going good. I think the energy is definitely there. And we’re really excited to be on the field every day and keep doing what we’re doing, and I can’t ask any more than that, to be completely honest.”
Davis was 2 for 3 with a double and a 2-run home run, his 14th of the season and 32nd of his career, moving him into a tie for eighth place on the school’s all-time list. The junior left fielder has hit in 13 straight games, and for the week batted .688 (11 for 16) with two homers and nine RBI.
Also extending his hit streak to 13 was Mason White, who had a bases-loaded walk in the first to tie the game at 1 and a 2-run triple in the third. The latter was part of a 4-run rally after falling behind 3-2, with the Wildcats scoring eight consecutive runs.
“I think the deal was with us right now is, they have a lot of confidence, especially in our ballpark, that we’re going to be able to score runs middle to late in the game,” UA coach Chip Hale said. “So if we get down three, four or five runs, we’re still gonna battle back and we’re going to do something to make the game at least close.”
Arizona had 10-plus hits for the 13th straight game—the longest such streak for the 2021 team, which reached the College World Series, was 11 games—but did not get to 10 runs for the first time in six contests. Instead, the Wildcats snapped an 11-game skid when scoring single digits, winning for the first time since March 11 against Cal.
Three UA pitchers combined to yield just seven hits, two by starter Aiden May, who struck out six but walked seven over five innings to get the win. Trevor Long went the next 2.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs in the eighth, and Dawson Netz got the final four outs.
For the weekend, Arizona’s bullpen allowed six earned runs over 14.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, helping drop the team ERA from 5.58 to 5.45 and from 7.01 to 6.66 in Pac-12 play.
“Our bullpen gave us a lot of length,” Hale said. “Long today was outstanding, probably should have gotten out that without any runs. I think we pitched much better this weekend.”
The sweep of Utah (14-24-1, 4-16-1) vastly improves the UA’s chances to make the Pac-12 Tournament, which will feature the top nine of 11 teams. The Wildcats are currently in eighth place and hold tiebreakers over 10th-place Cal and the last-place Utes.
Arizona wraps up a 5-game homestand Tuesday against New Mexico State, and Hale said right-hander Cam Walty will start. He’s thrown 12 shutout innings starting the last two midweek games, including seven scoreless frames Wednesday against ASU, but he’s likely to only go a few in order to make him available to potentially start Saturday or Sunday at Oregon State.