Arizona baseball stays hot at home with victory over rival Sun Devils
Arizona baseball infielder J.J. Matijevic (24) swings at a pitch during Arizona's match-up with California at Hi Corbett Field on April 26, 2015. Matijevic hopes to be one of Arizona's most productive players this season.
Arizona baseball remains untouchable at home after defeating in-state rival Arizona State 11-2 Tuesday night at Hi-Corbett field.
Arizona left-handed pitcher Cameron Ming started on the mound for the Wildcats. The Sun Devils started off the scoring when Arizona was unable to turn a double play in the first inning and they trailed 1-0 early.
The Wildcats didn’t hesitate to respond with sophomore Alfonzo Rivas getting a walk followed by junior Jared Oliva singling to left field in the bottom half of the first. Junior JJ Matijevic came up to the plate and doubled to right center bringing in Rivas and Oliva.
ASU catcher Zach Cerbo tried to pick off Matijevic at third but made a throwing error letting Matijevic advance home putting the Wildcats ahead 3-1 after one inning.
The Wildcats held off the Sun Devils in the second and continued with powerful offense with Rivas who hit a single up the right side bringing home Louis Boyd.
Going into the third inning, right-handed pitcher Tylor Megill relieved Ming on the mound. ASU’s Lyle Lin reached first on a fielding error by Matijevic, but Arizona was able to turn a double play on a sliding catch in foul territory from second baseman Kyle Lewis who then threw out ASU’s Andrew Shaps at home for the final out of the inning.
“That was awesome,” said Arizona head coach Jay Johnson. “That was the magic moment of the game. I am proud of him [Lewis] for his play the past two days. He has been what we need him to be for our team. That is him at his best.”
Leading off for the ‘Cats in the bottom of the third, Matijevic stayed dominant at the plate with a home run over the right field wall. When Matijevic crossed home he was welcomed by the rest of his team cheering him on.
Oliva led off the Wildcats in the fifth with a walk, but was soon brought in by Matijevic with his second home run of the night to right center.
“The first one I didn’t know it was going to be over, but the second one I knew that one was gone and it is just a great feeling,” Matijevic said. “I think I am getting better every day and working hard at it. I struggled on Sunday, but I was here early today and yesterday making those adjustments and I made them tonight and the outcome happened.”
Following Matijevic’s homerun, Quintana got on base due to an ASU error, Mitchell Morimoto singled to left, and Cesar Salazar advanced Nicholas Quintana to third with a sac bunt. Boyd walked making it bases loaded as Cal Stevenson made his way up to the plate. With two outs, Cal Stevenson hit one way over right field fence for a grand slam giving the Cats a double-digit lead 11-1.
“I was looking for that pitch and I finally got something I could hit hard and it went over the fence,” Stevenson said. “I’ve never hit a grand slam before in my life, so I was pretty excited about that and it was against ASU so it was ten times better.”
Megill stayed on the mound through 6th inning giving up no runs and was then relieved by Seve Romo going into the 7th inning.
“[Megill] is doing great,” said Johnson. “It is kind of like Cody Deason, Faulkner, Romo and a lot of guys are starting to settle in and get comfortable.”
The Sun Devils were able to put one more run to the board during the 8th inning with a home run, but Arizona closed out the game with ease.
Arizona is now 17-0 at their home field and is gaining more fans with each win. The Wildcats had a large attendance during the rivalry game with 4,644 fans in the seats on Tuesday.
“This is the best place in the world [Hi Corbett],” said Johnson. “It is unique, and this is beyond anything I imagined ever when coming here. It is pretty awesome and I think that charges our guys. This place was amazing. Our fans continue to outdo themselves.”
Arizona baseball will be hitting the road for its next three-game series against Washington State starting Friday, April 7 at 5 p.m.
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