Arizona Baseball survives! Cats advance to the Regional Final

CORAL GABLES, FL – After falling to Ole Miss in game one Arizona Baseball (39-24, 16-14) came  away with big  wins over Canisius and host Miami to stay alive. 

Survive and advance! That is all that matters at this point, and for Arizona Baseball that was certainly the case yesterday as the Wildcats battled inclement weather conditions and overcame playing a double-header to come away with much-needed wins over Canisius and Miami to stay alive.

After falling to Ole Miss on Saturday, Arizona turned to TJ Nichols in game one of the double-header, and overall, TJ looked fairly strong for the Wildcats as he lasted five innings, surrendering just three runs on five hits.

He would eventually be pulled and be replaced by Eric Orloff, George Arias Jr., and Quinn Flanagan in subsequent order, and together, the Wildcats’ staff was rocked a bit. Arizona would surrender two additional runs on three hits over the final four innings.

Despite letting up five runs, luckily, it was the offense that came up big in game one, plating seven runs on 11 hits as the Cats were led by Nik McClaughry, Chase Davis, and Blake Paugh. The trio went a combined 8-13 from the dish with seven RBIs to help fuel the offense.

Arizona would go on to beat Canisius by a 7-5 final as TJ picked up the win to improve to 6-4 on the season.

Escaping elimination, Arizona Baseball would have an even bigger battle as they resumed baseball action against host Miami as part of their double-header.

It is not how you start, but rather how you finish, and boy did Arizona Baseball finish its Sunday action in a big way at the Coral Gables Regional.

Taking part in game two of their double-header, the Wildcats would turn to Dawson Netz who got the start for Arizona. And early on he would face some adversity as the Hurricanes plated a run in the first inning to go up 1-0.

Lasting just four innings, Netz would surrender the one run on one hit as he would eventually be replaced by Anthony Susac, Javyn Pimental, Trevor Long, and Quinn Flanagan in subsequent order.

Unlike game one of their double-header, the Wildcats’ pitching staff was sharp against the host Hurricanes. Holding Miami to just four hits, the Hurricanes would score three runs, their biggest inning coming in the sixth when they plated two to take a 3-1 lead.

Arizona’s offense would be held in check most of the game, and despite Mac Bingham homering in the third, it was largely uneventful for the Cats, until they broke through late.

Facing a 3-1 deficit entering the eighth inning, Arizona’s Tony Bullard would help jump start the offense when he blasted a solo shot to right field to make it 3-2. Unfortunately, nothing would be brewing for the Cats for the rest of the inning.

Still trailing entering the ninth, the Wildcats would face early troubles as two quick strikeouts would put the Cats in a tough spot as they needed nothing short of a miracle to stay alive in this one.

With one out remaining, Nik McClaughry would single to get the Cats’ rally going. One batter later, Daniel Susac would be hit by a pitch that put two runners on for the Cats.

Setting up Tanner O’Tremba, the junior outfielder would be the hero in this one as he would turn on a 1-1 pitch that skirted out to right-center. Both runners would score, giving the Cats the 4-3 lead late!

Arizona’s Quinn Flanagan would come in the bottom of the ninth, slamming the door on the Hurricanes, surrendering just one hit as he picked up his second save of the season, and helping to deliver the 4-3 win!

Where does Arizona Baseball go from here?

With the win, Arizona improves to 39-24 (16-14) on the year and lives to see another day. The Wildcats will return to action on Monday when they take on Ole Miss. The Wildcats would have to beat the Rebels twice to advance.