Five times Spring 2018 sports made headlines

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona men's basketball head coach Sean Miller smiles as he cuts down the net after the Arizona victory over USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Men’s basketball 

Simon Asher
Parker Jackson-Cartwright is held up during the celebrations after the championship victory over the Arizona-USC Championship game at the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament on Saturday, March 10 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.


Behind a historic performance from freshman Deandre Ayton and a highlight reel dunk from Rawle Alkins, Arizona men’s basketball took home its second straight Pac-12 Tournament Championship with a win against USC in Las Vegas. Ayton poured in 32 points and 17 rebounds to earn the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Alkins’ momentum-shifting dunk will be etched into men’s basketball history.

The previous weeks had been filled with drama and adversity surrounding the future of Sean Miller, but Arizona shook off the outside noise and delivered three-straight wins in the conference tournament. The conference title was the high point in the season and vaulted the ‘Cats into national title contender territory. 

 - Alec White, football and men's basketball beat writer
Related: Alkins goes Phi Slamma Jamma on USC's Stewart; Changes game with iconic dunk

Softball

Jacquie Harbour/Arizona Athletics
Arizona's Taylor McQuillin (18) pitches the ball during the game against the South Dakota State Coyotes on March 8, 2018 at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, Tucson, AZ.


On a six-game losing streak in the Pac-12, and desperate for some type of moment, Arizona softball headed to Tempe for a weekend series against rival, No. 8 ASU. After losing game one, the Wildcats won games two and three on two of their best performances of the season. It was a statement series win for a team looking to put together a complete performance.

 - Noah Auclair, volleyball and softball beat writer

On Feb. 11, Taylor McQuillin threw one of the best games a pitcher can throw: a no-hitter. McQuillin’s no-no came against New Mexico in the last game of the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. The game also came just two days after she gave up five earned runs in just three innings against Oklahoma State.

McQuillin struck out 11 batters in her five hitless innings. The only baserunner she gave up was a walk in the top of the fifth inning. McQuillin threw only 67 pitches in the game, and struck out 68.75% of the batters she faced.

- Max Cohen, soccer and softball beat writer
Related: Arizona softball takes two of three from ASU in Tempe

Baseball


Cyrus Norcross
Alfonso Rivas (25) hits a triple and bats a runner into home adding the first point to the scoreboard at the bottom of the 3rd inning during the Arizona-New Mexico State game on Tuesday March 20 at Hi-Corbett Field in Tucson, Ariz.


The Wildcats were on a seven-game win streak going into their three-game series at Hi Corbett against the No. 4 ranked Oregon State Beavers. 

OSU had snapped that streak after taking game one on Friday April, 6 beating Arizona, 6-2. UA bounced back the following night crushing the Beavers, 15-4. In the rubber match Sunday afternoon, Arizona was on the verge of losing the series down 5-4 going into the ninth inning. Enter, Alfonso Rivas. 

With the bases loaded and one out Rivas corked a ball to deep left field allowing the winning run to score from second base and giving the Wildcats a 6-5 victory in dramatic fashion. The ‘Cats secured their fourth win in conference play improving to 19-11 overall. 

The series win over Oregon State was Arizona’s first series win in the regular season over a top-five team since sweeping No. 2 Stanford in 2012. 

- Alex Munoz, soccer and baseball beat writer
Related: Rivas is the hero for Arizona as it beats Oregon State 6-5 in walk-off fashion to win series

 Beach volleyball


Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics
Arizona's freshman beach volleyball player, Jonny Baham, lunges to receive the ball during the Beach Volleyball Wildcat Invitational on March 2 at Bear Down Bear, in Tucson, Ariz.


Beach volleyball had a swing of a season this year: the 'Cats ended their regular season play with a 20-12 record and got sent home after three games in the Pac-12 Championships. However, through everything, the highlight of their season was sweeping the Wildcat Spring Challenge on Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7 at Bear Down Beach in Tucson.

That weekend, the Sand Cats hosted four competitive programs: Stetson, Arizona State, Colorado Mesa, and California. Not only did Arizona sweep all four teams, but it also got two more Pac-12 wins under their belt, defeating Arizona State and California.

Arizona’s big win against the Cal Bears proved that it could still vie for a top spot in the Pac-12.

- Amit Syal, beach volleyball beat writer
Related: Arizona sweeps all four games in Wildcat Spring Challenge

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