ARIZONA

Arizona baseball walks off USC in final Pac-12 title game

May 25, 2024, 10:25 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm

Arizona baseball won the final Pac-12 tournament championship on Saturday. (@ArizonaBaseball/X phot...

Arizona baseball won the final Pac-12 tournament championship on Saturday. (@ArizonaBaseball/X photo)

(@ArizonaBaseball/X photo)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tommy Splaine lined a run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth inning and Arizona rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Southern California 4-3 on Saturday night in the Pac-12 baseball tournament championship game.

The championship game was the final Pac-12 game for the conference as we know it, with 10 teams heading to new conferences next fall.

The Wildcats (36-21) lost to Oregon in last year’s title game and clinched the No. 1 seed in this year’s bracket after winning the regular-season title.

Arizona appeared to be headed to another title-game disappointment, managing one baserunner — on an error — through the first six innings against USC starter Caden Aoki.

Mason White broke up Aoki’s no-hit bid with a one-out single in the seventh inning and Blake McDonald followed with a sacrifice fly off Xavier Martinez for Arizona’s first run. Brendan Summerhill hit a run-scoring single in the eighth inning and Garen Caulfield tied it with a sacrifice fly.

McDonald hit a one-out single off Josh Blum in the ninth inning and pinch runner Emilio Corona stole second. After an intentional walk to Andrew Cain, Splain lined a single and Corona slid in just ahead of left fielder Carson Wells’ throw.

The win could earn the Wildcats a chance to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans (31-28) saw their bid to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 erupt in the desert air.

USC got off to a great start, taking advantage of two miscues for a 1-0 lead in the third inning.

A fielding error by Splaine at first base put runners on first and third with one out. USC’s Ryan Jackson followed with a deep fly that center fielder Austin Overn misjudged for a run-scoring double. Arizona right fielder Easton Breyfogle saved at least another run with a leaping grab near the warning track.

Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek hit USC’s second straight triple off Cam Walty just out of Breyfogle’s reach in right to score another run in the fourth, and Brayden Dowd made it 3-0 with a run-scoring double.

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