The Arizona baseball team and Oregon opened up the first ever Pac-12 baseball tournament Wednesday morning in Scottsdale. The two teams met less than a week ago in Eugene where the Ducks swept the Wildcats in a three-game series. It was a different result between the two teams on Wednesday.
Arizona manager Chip Hale elected to go the bullpen route instead of running out one of his starters on short rest. Dawson Netz was the opener for the Wildcats.
After both teams went down in order in the first inning, Chase Davis opened the second inning with a hustle double. After he reached third base on a fly out by Tony Bullard, Garen Caulfield launched a home run to left field to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead. Daniel Susac followed with a home run of his own the next inning to extend the lead to 3-0.
Netz worked a couple 1-2-3 innings to open the game before allowing a pair of singles in the third inning. He was removed with two on and two outs for Javyn Pimental, who had thrown 2.1 scoreless frames against the Ducks last Saturday.
Pimental went on to allow back-to-back singles which led to both inherited runners scoring, both being charged to Netz.
The Wildcats got one run back in the fifth inning, taking advantage of a two out error that extended the frame as Davis hit a single up the middle to score Susac and extend Arizona's lead to 4-2.
Chris Barraza entered the game that next half inning, working around a leadoff walk to keep Oregon off the scoreboard. He remained on the mound the next inning and got into some trouble walking a batter followed by a double to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Eric Orloff was warming up in the bullpen, but Hale elected to stick with Barraza who then allowed a three-run home run to Anthony Hall on the very next pitch to give Oregon the 5-4 lead.
The Wildcats trailed for the first time all morning at that point, but that did not last long. Mac Bingham opened the seventh inning with a single, followed by Nik McClaughry getting hit by a pitch and Susac drawing a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Oregon went to the bullpen, bringing in Rio Britton who hit Tanner O'Tremba on the first pitch he threw to tie the game at 5-5. Davis then hit a sacrifice fly to give Arizona the lead right back at 6-5.
Quinn Flanagan entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Wildcats. He got into some trouble allowing a pair of singles to put runners on the corners, but worked himself out of the jam to maintain the 6-5 lead including a huge strikeout for the second out. Flanagan remained on the mound the next inning, allowing another two hits but again working out of it and keeping Arizona in front.
Looking for some insurance in the ninth inning, McClaughry opened the frame with a single followed by another home run hit by Susac to give Arizona an 8-5 lead. He led the team with three hits and drove in three runs on his two home runs.
Trevor Long took the mound for Arizona in the bottom of the ninth inning as he looked to earn the save. The Ducks cut the deficit to 8-6 with a single, groundout and double to open the inning, but Long was able to get the next two hitters out to secure the win for the Wildcats.
Arizona will be facing either Stanford or Arizona State in the winners bracket on Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 4:45 pm MST. Garrett Irvin will start for the Wildcats.
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