Arizona baseball drops first game at Hi Corbett against Oregon Ducks
Arizona catcher Cesar Salazar (12) bats during the baseball game against Oregon on April 13 at Hi Corbett Field.
The No. 7 Arizona Wildcats dropped their first home game of the season 8-4 to the No. 22 Oregon Ducks in game one of a three-game series Thursday night.
Oregon got things going into the second as catcher Matthew Dyer hit a triple to left center off of Arizona starter Randy Labaut that was followed by a Tim Susnara single up the middle to bring in Dyer for the Ducks first run of the night.
The Ducks didn’t stop and Morgan McCullough hit another triple to right bringing in two more runs leaving the Wildcats down 3-0 in the second.
Arizona responded when catcher Cesar Salazar hit a two-out double down the right field line, but Arizona was unable to scratch any runs across the plate.
In the third inning, Mitchell Morimoto reached on a catcher’s interference followed by an Alfonzo Rivas single to left field advancing Morimoto to third. Jared Oliva continued the momentum with a single through the left side bringing home Morimoto.
Junior JJ Matijevic was up to the plate for the Cats but was hit by a pitch advancing to first and loading the bases. Ready to add another run to the board, Kyle Lewis was walked bringing in Rivas to cut the deficit to 3-2.
It was a quick top of the fourth for Labaut as he kept the Ducks scoreless, but it came with a cost for the Wildcats. Oregon’s McCullough singled through the left side to try to bring in Susnara, but Salazar was blocking the plate and while he tagged the runner out, Salazar was hurt on the play and had to leave the game.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know he got slid into his hand,” said Arizona head coach Jay Johnson.
The Cats couldn’t get anything across during the fourth and the fifth. Labaut went 5.1 innings allowing three earned runs and he struck out four. He was relieved during the sixth by Rivas.
“He is so close to being great,” Johnson said. “We got to give him credit. In that second inning we were a strike away, it’s a tipping point pitch from being a great outing. I was really pleased after that though, I didn’t think he would be able to extend three and a third more innings. In the loss there is still positives and Randy is one of them.”
Oregon gained another run during the seventh leaving the Wildcats to trail behind by two. Rivas was taken off the mound after pitching one inning and was relieved by right-handed pitcher Michael Flynn. Flynn quickly wrapped up the top of the seventh getting the Cats back on the plate.
Morimoto led off the Wildcats in the seventh with a single to center field followed by Rivas who singled through the right side. Matijevic brought in Morimoto with a single adding one to the board.
“With our offense, we are always going to try to keep ourselves close,” Johnson said. “If we execute on offense it makes our decision making a lot easier.”
The Ducks added two runs in the eighth and ninth innings and the Wildcats couldn’t catch the Ducks.
Arizona came into the eighth with determination and Ryan Haug doubled to right center followed by freshman Matt Fraizer who drove him home with an RBI single.
Despite the offensive effort, Arizona was unable to rack up more runs dropping their first game of the season at home, 8-4.
“I think they [Oregon] played better,” Johnson said. “It starts on the mound and [Ducks starter] David Peterson is one of the best pitchers in the country and we saw some of that. I am actually pleased at the number of at-bats, it’s a good job by our offense.”
The Wildcats and Ducks will play game two of the series on Friday at 7 p.m. at Hi-Corbett field.
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