Arizona baseball overcomes massive deficit to beat EKU 16-13

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Sean Gundu | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona's Mitchell Morimoto readies a swing during the Arizona-Kentucky game on Friday, Feb. 17. 

It wasn’t a beautiful day for baseball, but it was a good day for the No. 15 Arizona Wildcats as they crawled their way back into game two, winning 16-13 against Eastern Kentucky University after trailing behind 9-0 in the third.

Junior pitcher Tylor Megill made his debut on the mound for Arizona but didn’t stay in long as he was pulled after giving up two runs and was relieved by sophomore Cody Deason.

“[Megill] didn’t pitch in character and I have total confidence in him and can’t wait to get him out there again and expose him,” said Arizona head coach Jay Johnson.

It was a long third inning as EKU racked up seven runs, three were scored off Deason. Freshman Randy Labaut relieved Deason in the third but EKU continued to make their way around the diamond with four more runs leaving the Cats behind 9-0.

Arizona didn’t let the early deficit stop them, as junior designated hitter Mitchell Morimoto hit a single up the middle bringing in freshman Matt Fraizer for the Wildats first run of the game.

Junior JJ Matijevic hit a single up the middle bringing in junior Cal Stevenson and Morimoto. Freshman Nick Quintana finished the inning off with a bang as he hit his first double of the game bringing in Matijevic to get Arizona back into the game but still trailed 9-5.

Going into the fourth inning, EKU brought in three more runs taking a seven run lead. Arizona continued to trail behind through the sixth inning until Matijevic hit a double bringing in sophomore Alfonso Rivas, Stevenson and Morimoto.

Quintana followed through with his consistency at the plate by hitting his second double of the game into right center bringing in Matijevic. Junior Jared Oliva hit an RBI bringing in Quintana followed by senior Louis Boyd with a RBI to bring Arizona only one run short 13-12.

The seventh inning was the turning point for Arizona when Quintana tied the game 13-13 with an RBI followed by sophomore Cesar Salazar with a RBI giving Arizona the lead 14-13.

“[Quintana] has a special ability in terms of how he sees the ball and bat speed,” Johnson said. “I think the separator is that I’ve learned how quick he is to make adjustments. He’s done some good work quickly and adapted quickly in a way that not everyone can do.”

Quintana went 5 for 6 at bat during his second career game at Arizona finishing with an RBI in the bottom of the ninth hitting a double to right field to bring home Stevenson and Morimoto to win 16-13.

“Coming from yesterday, I think today was more relaxed and felt like another day at the park,” Quintana said. “With the team we have, coming back from nine nothing isn’t really a lot to hold us back as you can tell from today.”

Matijevic finished the game with five RBI's in six at bats.

“I just try to stay nice and slow, last night I was rushing myself at the plate and wasn’t seeing the ball as well, so today I tried to slow everything down and see the ball a lot better and that’s what happened,” Matijevic said.

The Wildcats play EKU on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the third of the four game series at Hi Corbett.


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