Wildcats take series in Pullman
Arizona infielder J.J. Matijevic (24) at bat during the baseball game against USC on April 2 at Hi Corbett Field.
The Arizona baseball team picked up its second straight Pac-12 series victory this weekend after taking two out of three against Washington State in Pullman, Washington. The series victory moved the No. 8 Wildcats to 23-8 on the season.
The Wildcats dominated the opener Friday night 19-5, which marked the seventh time the UA has scored 15 or more runs this season. Six players recorded multi-hit games.
The offensive started right from the get-go as Cal Stevenson hit a lead-off home run to right. It was Stevenson’s second straight game with a home run after hitting a grand slam in Tuesday’s win over ASU.
Arizona followed with three straight singles by Alfonso Rivas, J.J. Matijevic and Jared Oliva. The Cats tacked on two more when Nick Quintana and Mitchell Morimoto hit back-to-back RBI sac flies to give the UA a 3-0 lead right off the bat.
Rivas, Matijevic and Oliva went on to have monster games for the UA. Rivas went 3-3 with a home run, three RBIs, four runs, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Matijevic went 4-4 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs, while Oliva finished 4-6 with two doubles and four runs scored.
The game wasn’t all positive for the Wildcats as the team’s ace, J.C. Cloney departed with an injury after retiring one batter in the first inning. Cloney currently holds the best record in the nation, 6-0, while boasting a 1.75 ERA with 34 strikeouts.
The Cougars bounced back with a high-scoring affair of their own in game two when they beat the UA 9-2 on Saturday. The UA’s starter, Randy Labaut, who had been stellar in his previous two starts, got shelled for five runs on five hits in 2.1 innings. After three innings, the UA found themselves in a 7-0 hole.
The Wildcats tried to claw their way back in the sixth when Oliva doubled in Stevenson and came around to score on a sac fly by Morimoto. However, WSU responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to push its lead to 9-2, which went on to be too large of a deficit for the UA to comeback from.
The UA had to go to its bullpen sooner than expected in Sunday’s finale as well as starter Rio Gomez went 3.2 innings while allowing three runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
Cameron Ming, UA’s most effective bullpen weapon, did a masterful job relieving Gomez. Ming went four strong innings allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts. The UA jumped out to an early lead after Ryan Haug drove in Nick Quintana with a single in the second. WSU proceeded to walk in another run to push the UA lead to 2-0 and Louis Boyd extended it to three with an RBI double in the fourth.
After the Cougars tied it up, the UA took the lead on an RBI single by Mitchell Morimoto and added to more after a sac fly and another RBI knock by Haug.
Tylor Megill took over for Ming and picked up the save in the ninth.
The UA will now take on Grand Canyon University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Phoenix before hosting Oregon for a three-game set next weekend.
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