Arizona baseball takes first Pac-12 series over UCLA Bruins
Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson signs team posters at the Baseball Alumni Reunion on Jan. 29, 2016.
In its first Pac-12 matchup of the year, the Arizona baseball team took two out of three games against UCLA last weekend in Los Angeles. The series opener on Friday was delayed after just one inning and later postponed due to severe fog. The postponement resulted in a Saturday double-header in which the Wildcats swept the Bruins, clinching the series.
The first game of the double-header – which picked up in the second inning – saw the Wildcats dismantle the Bruins 19-4 in an offensive parade. Mitchell Morimoto, J.J. Matijevic and Nick Quintana combined to go 11-17 with seven RBIs and one homerun, courtesy of Matijevic, his second of the season. Jared Oliva also went 2-4 with four RBIs, a triple and three walks.
UA received another solid outing from ace J.C. Cloney who went five innings while allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts. Cloney is now 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 25 strikeouts.
The Wildcats found themselves in a quick 3-0 hole in game two but found a way to tie it up in the sixth inning thanks to back-to-back doubles by Cal Stevenson and Alfonso Rivas to lead off the inning and get UA on the board. Two batters later, Matijevic hit a double of his own to bring in Rivas and cut the deficit to one before Oliva drove in Matijevic on a single to right to tie the game.
The team received solid performances in relief from left-handers Randy Labaut and Cameron Ming who went a combined 7.2 scoreless innings. The game was tied heading into the ninth when UA recorded back-to-back two out hits by Quintana and Cesar Salazar. After Kyle Lewis walked to load the bases, Cameron Cannon reached on an error by the shortstop, allowing pinch-runner Matt Frazier to score from third and give UA a 4-3 lead. Ming threw a scoreless ninth inning to seal the 4-3 victory and the series win.
Game three provided another thriller, but with the Wildcats on the wrong end. UA found themselves down for the second straight game, but were able to rally once again in third after Salazar scored on an RBI double by Cannon. Two batters later, Rivas singled in Cannon to give UA the 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats tacked on two more in the fourth to provide a three-run cushion for pitcher Rio Gomez who was able to keep the Bruins at bay for much of the game until the seventh when Ryan Kreidler hit a two-run home run. However, the Wildcats hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth courtesy of Quintana and Salazar.
The lead would not last as the Bruins scored twice in the eighth and after the Wildcats extended the lead to two in the ninth, the Bruins responded with two more to send the game to extra innings where they scored on a wild pitch to win 8-7 and salvage the series.
The Wildcats will return home to face New Mexico State on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett field.
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