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Arizona baseball ends season with 9-3 loss to Sam Houston State

Justin Rex and Justin Rex | The Daily Wildcat Arizona players embrace after their 9-3 loss to Sam Houston on June 4, 2017, at Dan Law Field. The Wildcats game 5 loss eliminated them from the NCAA Lubbock Regional and ended their Omaha run.

The Arizona Wildcats’ season came to an end after losing to Sam Houston State, 9-3, in game five of the NCAA Lubbock Regional on Sunday at Dan Law Field.

Both losses in the regional for Arizona came at the hand of Sam Houston State, losing to the Bearkats in the opening round, 5-4. The Wildcats finished the season with an overall record of 38-21. 

Despite getting runners on base in all but one inning, Arizona was unable to put hits together and stay alive in the regional.

“I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of their accomplishments this season,” Arizona coach Jay Johnson said.

The Bearkats struck first during the contest. A strikeout wild pitch allowed the leadoff hitter for Sam Houston State to reach first. He advanced to second on a ground out, and was brought in to score courtesy of a double from Andrew Fregia, giving the Bearkats the 1-0 lead. 

The Wildcats threatened in the top of the second inning, with runners on the corners and one out. However, a double play ended the winning without an Arizona run crossing the plate.

Sam Houston State loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning after a double from Robie Rojas and two walks. The Bearkats added to their lead when sophomore starting pitcher Cody Deason walked another batter, making it 2-0.

Sam Houston State’s Bryce Johnson hit a single to right field, allowing two more Bearkats to score. Andrew Fregia followed him with a double to right-center field, bringing in another two runs for the Bearkats, giving them the 6-0 lead.

After the double, Arizona called to the bullpen and brought in junior Landon Faulkner. The right-hander gave up an RBI single to the first batter he faced. Rojas came back up to the plate next and hit his second double of the inning, increasing the Bearkats lead, 8-0. The inning ended with an RBI single from Jaxxon Grisham, who was thrown out at second. After two innings, the Wildcats trailed, 9-0.

When the Wildcats took the field in the bottom of the third, junior right-hander Robby Medel took over on the mound. Deason and Faulkner combined for seven hits and nine runs through two innings.

Arizona started the fourth inning with a leadoff single from sophomore Alfonso Rivas, followed by junior Ryan Haug who was hit by the pitch. The runners advanced on a passed ball, putting Wildcats on second and third with no outs.

An RBI single from freshman Nick Quintana gave the Wildcats their first run of the game and put runners on the corners. Sophomore Cesar Salazar followed him with an RBI single of his own, cutting the deficit to 9-2. That was all the Wildcats could get in the innings, stranding three runners.

In the fifth inning, Arizona threatened after two batters got on after being hit by the pitch, but the Wildcats could not capitalize and the score remained, 9-2.

Senior Louis Boyd hit his first career home run to leadoff the ninth inning for the Wildcats. After junior Cal Stevenson flied out to center, junior JJ Matijevic hit his 30th double of the season, tying the Arizona record for a single season. He advanced to third on a ground out, but a strikeout ended the game. 

The Wildcats lost to the Bearkats, 9-3, ending their postseason run. 

“Tough one, but we’ll regroup and get ready for the 2018 season,” Johnson said.

** Editor's Note: McKenzi Morris is Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Toreador at Texas Tech University. Morris is covering regionals for the Daily Wildcat.

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