Cats' rally falls short in 9th straight Pac


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May 28, 2023

Cats' rally falls short in 9th straight Pac

Arizona coach Chip Hale returned from his two-game suspension Sunday, but his

Arizona coach Chip Hale returned from his two-game suspension Sunday, but his presence wasn't enough to end the Wildcats’ losing streak in Pac-12 play. The UA fell to Oregon 8-5, its ninth consecutive league loss.

After blowing a 10-run lead Saturday night to lose its eighth straight conference game, Arizona attempted to make a late comeback Sunday afternoon.

The effort fell short as the Wildcats lost 8-5 to Oregon at Hi Corbett Field. It's the third consecutive time Arizona has been swept in Pac-12 play — and the first time the Wildcats have been swept at home since April 2018 vs. Stanford.

Although it was another loss for UA, the fight the team showcased in the second half of the game — particularly the seventh and eighth innings — is something Arizona coach Chip Hale and the team will look to build on. The Wildcats trailed 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. They scored four runs in those innings and brought the go-ahead run at the plate.

"I really feel good about that and I told them that," Hale said. "I said this is where we turn it around

"We’re going to have to play much better to win, and it's not acceptable for this program to lose three series in a row and get swept."

In Hale's first game back coaching after serving a two-game suspension Friday and Saturday following an ejection earlier in the week, he noted the team's mood heading into Sunday following Saturday's 13-11 loss.

"I think there was some hangover a little bit from last night," Hale said. "It was tough. ... I talked to them about it, it's like (Friday) night and we had the same opportunity (to come back) and couldn't do it, and they did a really good job of coming back and beating us."

Righty Aiden May took the mound for Arizona, allowing runs in each of the first three innings, capped off with a two-run home run for shortstop Drew Cowley to give the Ducks a 4-1 lead.

The Wildcats (14-12, 3-9 Pac-12) got on the board in the second inning with a sacrifice fly hit by Tyler Casagrande after Cameron LaLiberte walked and Garen Caulfield singled.

May finished the afternoon allowing five runs on five hits across 5⅔ innings to go along with two strikeouts and three walks while throwing a season-high 101 pitches.

The Wildcats left at least two runners on base in four different innings, including the bases loaded in the sixth, resulting in 11 runners left on base. Arizona went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position as a team.

Arizona outfielder Chase Davis, shown waiting in the dugout against Oregon in the fifth inning Friday night, said he's confident the struggling Wildcats can turn their season around even after they lost their ninth straight Pac-12 game Sunday.

Chase Davis and Kiko Romero hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning before Emilio Corona opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run of his own to cut UA's deficit to 7-5. Later in the frame, Arizona had runners on the corners with two outs for Romero, who struck out to end the threat.

Oregon (18-7, 6-3) added one run in the ninth inning, and Arizona went down quietly to end the game.

It's tough on everyone when a team is going through a slump like Arizona is enduring right now. Davis remains confident in the team's ability to turn the season around.

"There are obviously going to be assumptions from people," Davis said. "It's always going to be the people that aren't on the field that are probably saying the things that might not be the most true.

"We’re fighters and we’re dogs and we know that, our stadium knows that and our fan base knows that. This is just baseball, and I’ve seen it before. We’re going to turn it around, and I’m excited for it."

Right-handers Cam Walty, Derek Drees and Trevor Long pitched out of the bullpen for Arizona, and only Long was able to avoid allowing a run.

Nik McClaughry and Garen Caulfield each picked up two hits.

Third baseman Tony Bullard (concussion) is expected to be available for the upcoming series against Washington after doing a full workout on Sunday. "Tomorrow, we’ll see what the next step is," Hale said. That series begins Thursday at Hi Corbett.

Who: Arizona (14-12, 3-9) vs. Washington (18-8, 5-4)

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Hi Corbett Field

Radio: 1290-AM

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