It was an early start at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, and down 5-2 after three innings it had all the makings of a long day for Arizona.
Then their potent top of the order came up to start the fifth, and four batters later the Wildcats were on their way to a sixth consecutive Pac-12 road victory.
Chase Davis hit a 1-0 pitch for a grand slam, his second slam of the season and 11th home run overall, putting the UA up 6-5 on host Utah in a game it would 7-6 on Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City.
The game began at 11 a.m. local time, as will Friday and Saturday’s contests, due to Utah sharing a field with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. Arizona (24-10, 11-5 Pac-12) was fresh early, scoring twice in the top of the first, but Utah (18-14-1, 5-8) countered with three runs in the bottom of the first.
The Utes added two more in the third off UA right-hander TJ Nichols, who still managed to get the win despite allowing five runs and a career-high 12 hits over 6.1 innings.
Arizona’s 4-run 5th began with Mac Bingham reaching on a fielding error, followed by a single from Tanner O’Tremba. Daniel Susac was hit by a pitch to load the bases, setting the stage for Davis’ go-ahead blast.
The Wildcats added a run in the sixth when Bingham—who scored three times—drew a 2-out walk, advanced on an O’Tremba single and scored on a Susac double.
O’Tremba was 3 for 5 and scored twice, while Susac’s double was his 14th of the season. He has 59 hits this season, fourth-most in the country.
Nichols exited in the seventh after allowing two singles, with Quinn Flanagan inheriting runners on the corners. Utah got a run home on a fielder’s choice before Flanagan struck out the next batter.
Flanagan allowed a 1-out single and a 2-out walk in the eighth before making way for Trevor Long, who got the final four outs for his third save. The sophomore right-hander, who appears to have taken over the closer’s role from struggling lefty Holden Christian, lowered his ERA to 0.87 over 20.2 innings this season.
Arizona will send lefty Garrett Irvin (3-1, 2.47) to the mound Friday. A win would given it three road Pac-12 series wins in as many tries compared to 1 of 3 at Hi Corbett Field.