Walking off UCLA at home was so nice, Arizona decided to do it twice.

Emilio Corona’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth gave the Wildcats a 3-2 win on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field, their second consecutive walk-off win after beating the Bruins 5-3 in 10 innings on Thursday.

It was the 3,000th win in program history, making the UA the 10th school to reach that milestone in college baseball.

Brendan Summerhill, the hero the night before with his 2-run home run in the 10th, scored from third after Corona lifted the first pitch from UCLA closer Rashad Ruff into the right-center field.

“The job at the plate at that time was to just get the runner in, and I knew that I had to hit a fly ball deep enough to score him and I got the pitch to do it,” said Corona, who had also had two of Arizona’s four hits and scored both earlier runs. “I think we’re learning that we don’t have to score six runs every inning, we don’t have to press for home runs. Just play ball and get the runs when we can and just play the game the right way and execute.”

Arizona (12-13, 6-5 Pac-12) scored its first two runs in the third and fifth innings on RBI groundouts by Richie Morales, both poked to the right side to allow Corona to score from third. The lack of those kind of plays had contributed to a 2-8 record in 1- or 2-run games entering the UCLA series.

“We have definitely not maximized our chances,” UA coach Chip Hale said. “We’ve done a lot of things to shoot ourselves in the foot in close games, where the last couple of years you don’t see those things as much because we scored so many runs. We’ve struggled in 1-run games. Up until this weekend we’ve had a hard time. Instead of an attitude of not playing to not lose it’s an attitude of playing to win. And we’re starting to turn that over.”

The three runs were the fewest Arizona has scored in a win since the season-opening 3-1 victory over preseason No. 2 Tennessee last February, but with the way Clark Candiotti was throwing it seemed like one was going to be enough.

The senior right-hander threw a complete game, the first 9-inning CG by a UA pitcher since Garrett Irvin did so against UC-Santa Barbara in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and added a career-high 12 strikeouts (most by a Wildcat since Michael Flynn had a dozen against UCLA in 2018). Yet because of an unearned run in eighth and a 2-out single in the ninth he was facing a no-decision had Arizona not walked it off.

“Everything felt very good from the beginning,” said Candiotti, who went heavy on his slider and curveball to keep UCLA off balance. “Even though things got a little hairy in the ninth, it’s still pitch after pitch knowing I could pitch the way I normally do and just give my team a chance.”

Candiotti threw 105 pitches, which was a surprise to Hale, who avoided checking that number with pitching coach Kevin Vance.

“I had no idea what his pitch count was,” he said. “We weren’t gonna let him go ridiculous, but he was right at 100. I didn’t realize. I didn’t want to jinx it, so I didn’t ask it the whole game. I thought was like 115, 120 but he was right around 100.”

The outing continued Arizona’s season-long trend of stellar starts from the weekend arms. Candiotti, Jackson Kent—who allowed two earned over 5.2 innings Thursday—and Cam Walty have combined for for a 3.19 ERA, 3.13 in Pac-12 play.

“Our whole rotation right now is solid.”

Arizona has held nine consecutive conference opponents to four or fewer runs, the longest such stretch since 1982. It also clinched its first series against UCLA since 2018 and can go for the sweep with Walty on the mound Saturday at 1 p.m. PT.


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