Arizona drops final series of regular season but looks ahead to regionals
Arizona catcher Ryan Haug (6) bats during the baseball game against California on May 28 at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona baseball wrapped up the final series of the regular season but fell 7-4 Sunday at Hi Corbett in an important home stand against the California Golden Bears. Arizona won the first game and dropped the next two in a pivotal end of season contest.
The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 10-3 in the series opener Friday. Cal got on the board early scoring the in the first and the third innings leaving the Cats setting up another come from behind victory.
JJ Matijevic responded with a double to left to bring in Alfonso Rivas and Cal Stevenson to tie the game. The Golden Bears crossed the plate only once more in the sixth.
Arizona starter JC Cloney was relieved by right-hander Michael Flynn who threw three scoreless innings.
The Cats took off in the sixth as they crossed the plate three more times. Flynn kept Cal off the board in the seventh, as Arizona was able to add four more runs leaving the Golden Bears behind 10-3.
The Wildcats were back in action Saturday but fell to the Golden Bears 9-6. Arizona left-handed pitcher Cameron Ming was unable to hold off Cal as they plated five runs in the first inning.
The Cats offense came to life and scored two runs in the first in response to Cal’s early lead. Arizona rallied as they added two more runs in the second and eventually tied the game in the fourth at five.
Cal plated a run in the sixth and didn’t look back. The Bears added one more to the board in the seventh and two in the eighth to take a 9-5 lead.
Arizona rallied for one more run in the ninth but fell short losing 9-6 setting up a pivotal third game Sunday.
Sunday was an important game for the Cats with the potential for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The series win would put them in a better position to host the regionals, but the Wildcats fell to the Golden Bears 7-4.
Arizona grabbed an early lead with a single by Rivas to bring in Stevenson in the first followed by a walk to Jared Oliva to bring in Cesar Salazar for a two run lead.
The Cats’ offense continued to add runs in the fourth taking the lead 4-0, but the Bears clawed their way back as they plated two runs in the fifth to cut the deficit in half.
Cal’s offensive onslaught continued through the seventh adding four more runs to pad their lead.
Arizona brought the winning run up to the plate in the ninth after loading the bases, but Cal closer Ian Lutz was able to secure the win for the Bears.
Arizona finished their regular season with an overall record of 37-19 and 16-14 in the Pac-12.
With the playoffs on the horizon, Arizona needed a strong finish of the season to have any chance of hosting the first round of the regionals. Arizona will find out Monday afternoon whether they will host the regionals or if they will be hitting the road to secure their second straight trip to Omaha.
Follow Syrena Tracy on Twitter.