If any game this spring epitomized Arizona’s 2023 season as a whole, it happened Sunday afternoon. But with one notable exception:
The Wildcats won a game they tried so hard (and so often) to lose.
Emilio Corona’s 3-run home run in the top of the 10th inning gave the UA its third different multi-run lead, then Chris Barraza struck out Carter Graham with the tying run on third base to close out a 4-hour, 18-minute game that featured 40 hits, 14 walks, 22 strikeouts and 12 pitchers.
Yet Arizona (27-22, 10-17 Pac-12) never trailed despite squandering leads of 3-0, 8-2, 9-5, 16-9 and 18-11. Conference regular-season champ Stanford (34-14, 20-7) tied it at nine in the fourth and 18-all on a 3-run homer by Alberto Rios—who hit three homers and had nine RBI—with two out in the bottom of the ninth.
It was only the third true road win of the season for Arizona, second in Pac-12 play. Its 2-13 conference road mark is its worst since going 0-15 in 1994, when it finished 15-40 including 7-23 in league play.
The Wildcats held a lead in all but one conference road game this season, getting walked off three times in the past three weeks including Friday’s 9-8 loss at Stanford after they’d rallied from down 8-2.
Corona’s homer, his eighth of the season, was the 10th in the game and fourth by Arizona. Chase Davis smacked a 3-run shot in the first, moving him into a tie for fourth on the UA career list with 35, while Mason White hit a 3-run homer in Arizona’s 5-run third and Kiko Romero crushed a grand slam during a 7-run 5th.
White was 5 for 7 with four RBI, giving him 34 hits in 22 Pac-12 games, while Romero and Davis both had six RBI. Romero increased his conference-leading RBI total to 74, one shy of the UA single-season top 10 list with at least five games to go.
Also with four RBI was Corona, who had a 3-homer game two weeks ago at Oregon State and had the walkoff homer to beat Nevada on Wednesday. He was ejected for apparently jawing with Stanford pitcher Ryan Bruno during his go-ahead home run trot, which means he’ll be suspended for Monday’s road finale at UC-Irvine.
Arizona’s win moved it back into a tie for ninth place in the Pac-12 with Cal, against whom it holds the tiebreaker, and a half-game behind Washington State, with the top nine teams making the Pac-12 Tournament May 23-27 in Scottsdale. The Wildcats wrap up the regular season Thursday through Saturday against fourth-place USC, while Cal visits second-place Washington and WSU hosts first-place Stanford.