Arizona Baseball upsets No. 2 Tennessee to begin 2023 Season

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Beginning its 2023 with a huge challenge against No. 2 Tennessee, Arizona Baseball (1-0) came up big, upsetting the Volunteers 3-1. 

Arizona Baseball is back in action! And starting the 2023 season at the MLB Desert Invitational in Scottsdale, the Wildcats had a huge challenge on Friday as they took on No. 2 Tennessee.

Turning to TJ Nichols who got the start on the bump for the Wildcats, the junior hurler was up to the challenge for the Cats as he came up big! Throwing six, dominant innings, Nichols would finish his day surrendering just one run on three hits while striking out six.

He would eventually be replaced by Eric Orloff, Dawson Netz, and Trevor Long, but together it was a dominant day on the mound for the Cats as Arizona held Tennessee to just one run on six hits.

Offensively, the Wildcats combined for seven hits and three runs, although it was Mac Bingham and Tony Bullard who led the way, going a combined 2-7 from the dish with three RBIs.

Scoring two early runs, Arizona Baseball came up big, holding No. 2 Tennessee to just one run as the Wildcats came away with the 3-1 win.

The Volunteers would get the action going early in this one when a few, well-timed hits set up Tennessee’s Zane Denton to hit a sacrifice fly that scored Christian Moore to make it 1-0.

Luckily, the Wildcats wouldn’t go quietly! Trailing just 1-0, Arizona would respond in a big way in the bottom of the first as the Wildcats responded with a sacrifice fly themselves to make it 1-1.

Tied, Arizona would get things going again in the bottom of the second inning when Tony Bullard notched the first home run of the 2023 season, belting a solo shot to left field to make it 2-1 in favor of the Cats.

Unfortunately, the bats would go quiet for a while in this one as neither team could generate any offense over the next several innings.

Leading 2-1 heading into the eighth, the Wildcats would tack on one more insurance run when a Mac Bingham double scored Kiko Romero to make it 3-1 in favor of the Cats.

The Wildcats’ bullpen would come up big in the ninth, holding Tennessee to just one hit as Arizona came away with the 3-1 win!

TJ Nichols would pick up the win for the Cats, improving to 1-0 on the year, meanwhile, Trevor Long earned his first save of the season.

Where does Arizona Baseball go from here?

With the win, Arizona improves to 1-0 on the year and will face Fresno State in a Saturday matchup for day two of the MLB Desert Invitational. First pitch is set for 1:00 P.M. MST. The Wildcats will then follow that up with matchups against Michigan State on Sunday and UC San Diego on Monday!

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