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Baseball drops series against Cal

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Emily Gauci | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona baseball outfielder Jared Oliva (42) walks back to the dugout during Arizona's 8-3 loss to California on April 26, 2015.

Another series sweep was added to the Arizona baseball team record this weekend after dropping all three games to California at Hi Corbett Field.

Arizona (24-17, 9-12 Pac-12 Conference) lost to the Golden Bears 8-3 during Sunday’s game to allow Cal to complete the series sweep.

While pitching has been an issue this season, offense also struggled throughout the weekend.

“I feel bad for the offensive guys,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. “They’re a little bit tight.”

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The Wildcats were able to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI double by first baseman J.J. Matijevic, but Cal responded with four runs in the top of the fifth inning to quickly take the lead.

Arizona starting pitcher Bobby Dalbec had not allowed a hit until that same inning, and shortstop Kevin Newman made an error to allow Cal to keep rolling.

Dalbec, who left the mound due to tightness around his tricep area, was pulled in the middle of the sixth inning after allowing four runs, one walk and striking out two. Robby Medel took over and pitched 1.1 innings, allowing three hits in his brief stint on the mound.

Cal was able to push two more runs across in the seventh inning against Medel.

The Golden Bears took a 6-1 lead before Cameron Ming took over for Medel.

The bottom of the seventh looked different for Arizona’s offense.

Arizona outfielder Justin Behnke led the inning off with a double, and second baseman Scott Kingery singled for an RBI on his third hit of the game to make it a 6-2 game.

Arizona loaded the bases but couldn’t push more runs across, leaving the game at 6-2 through seven. 

“We’re not getting those crucial hits when we’re supposed to,” Metijevic said.

Tyger Talley replaced Ming in the top of the eighth, but the Golden Bears’ bats were hot, as they pushed two more runs across to make it an 8-2 Cal lead.

Arizona pitchers Rio Gomez and Austin Schnabel found themselves with a chance on the mound during the ninth inning and were able to avoid further damage.

Riley Moore had an RBI single for the Wildcats in the bottom of the ninth, but Arizona wasn’t able to make a comeback.

The Wildcats dropped Saturday’s game 4-0 and Friday’s game 3-1.

Saturday’s starting pitcher Nathan Bannister (6-2) took the loss on Saturday, and Cody Hamlin (4-3) took Friday’s loss with lack of support form the offense.

The pitching improved this weekend and although Lopez gave credit to all of Cal’s pitchers, Arizona’s offense was certainly off during the series.

“Too many fly balls,” Lopez said.

This weekend allowed Lopez to discover something new. 

“When we don’t go to our pen, it’s pretty clean, and the pen has been an issue all year,” Lopez said, “but we have tried to alleviate that in some ways.”

After this weekend, it’s almost sure that Arizona will not make it to the postseason, and one thing Lopez notices about his club is some players are looking uptight during games.

“I just wanted to clear the air: If there’s anybody out here playing to try to make Coach Lopez win a game or get to the postseason, that’s not it,” Lopez said.

With a long postgame meeting in the clubhouse after Sunday’s loss, the main message to the players was about character.

“[Lopez] is a big guy on character, and he was saying we just have to keep playing hard,” Matijevic said.

Arizona will be back in action on Tuesday when the Wildcats face ASU for the last time this season. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.

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Updated December 7, 2021