As the Arizona Baseball regular season ends with two straight losses to Cal, the Wildcats now turn their focus to the NCAA Tournament where they must travel to Lubbock, TX.
In front of the Wildcat faithful one last time at Hi-Corbett Field for 2017, the Arizona Baseball team hosted conference rival, the Cal Bears in a three-game series starting Friday.
Game one of the series started out a bit shaky, as the Wildcats ace JC Cloney would give up two runs in the first three innings, however, Arizona would respond in this one scoring two runs off yet another JJ Matijevic double in the third inning.
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Cloney would begin to settle down, getting into a nice rhythm, retiring a few Cal batters without much opposition. He would later be pulled in the sixth but would get the no-decision for the Wildcats.
Reliever Michael Flynn would replace him, completely shutting the door on the Bears’ offense, also picking up his fifth win of the season.
Arizona would explode for eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined, pacing themselves to a 10-3 victory, and it was seniors Louis Boyd (a Pac-12 First Team Academic All-American) and Kyle Lewis, as well as sophomore Alfonso Rivas leading the way offensively.
Rivas, Lewis, and Boyd would go for a combined five of 12 from the plate, plating six of the ten Wildcats’ runs.
Game two would again start out a bit rough for the Wildcats, as Cameron Ming would struggle early on, on the mound. Cal would score five runs in the first inning alone, putting pressure on Arizona early.
The Wildcats, however, would respond by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Arizona would add two more in the second after sophomore catcher Cesar Salazar would ground out, scoring Boyd. Matijevic would then fly out, scoring Cal Stevenson.
Arizona would eventually tie the game at 5-5 after a throwing error by Cal, would score Boyd from third.
The Bears, however, would respond, scoring a run in the sixth and seventh innings respectively, and ultimately kept the potent Wildcats’ offense at bay. Arizona would go on to lose game two by a 9-6 final.
Needing to win game three to win the series, it was Cody Deason on the mound for Arizona on Senior Day. Deason would put together a solid performance, delivering five innings of work, surrendering just two runs (one earned) on four hits, but it was ultimately reliever Rio Gomez who would pick up the loss in this one.
Arizona would get things going offensively early but would falter down the stretch, despite taking a 4-0 lead early. Cal’s offense would come alive a bit, later on, slowly chipping away at the Wildcats’ lead, and eventually pulling ahead for good in the seventh inning.
Cal would win game three by a 7-4 final. With the loss, the Wildcats dropped to 37-19 (16-14) on the season, and likely hurt their regional-hosting chances by losing two of three to Cal.
With the 2017 regular season in the books, the Wildcats now turn their focus to the postseason. Hoping to maybe get a regional host bid, Arizona got their dreams dashed as the selections were made, and they learned their fate.
Arizona will once again head to the Regionals being the only Pac-12 team to make it the last two years and will have to travel to Lubbock, TX first.
Texas Tech, of course, will be the host team, and number one seed, with Sam Houston State, and Delaware also being there along with Arizona. The Wildcats will square off with Sam Houston State first on Friday.
This also marks Arizona’s 39th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history.
Listen to head coach Jay Johnson’s reaction as the Wildcats learned their fate on Monday…
At Zona Zealots, we would like to congratulate the baseball team on another great season, and wish them all the luck and success as they advance to the postseason! Bear Down, Arizona!