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Arizona baseball: Wildcats down Cal State Bakersfield 4-1

It was the JC and JJ show on Saturday

Jason Bartel

After losing their first game of the Wildcat Invitational, the Arizona Wildcats bounced back on Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners.

And they only needed two guys: JC and JJ.

In the third inning, CSUB pitcher AJ Monarrez walked the bases loaded with one out for JJ Matijevic. He would come up and smack one off the intimidation board in right-center field for a grand slam, and Arizona's only four runs of the night.

"The kid threw eight or nine balls before that, and I went over to skip before I went out and asked 'You thinking first-pitch fastball?' and he was like 'Yeah, be ready for it', so I was ready for it and that's what I got and that's what I hit."

"When he made contact, and once the right fielder turned his shoulders and was off, we were like alright that's probably going out," JC Cloney added. "Then the whole dugout just erupted when it finally got out."

Cloney returned to the hill on Saturday after starting last Sunday against San Diego State, and he picked off pretty much right where he left off. The junior college transfer threw eight innings of seven-hit ball, allowing just one run in the 5th inning.

"Fastball command," Cloney credited his success to. "Tonight it was all about fastball command and I just pitched off of that."

Bakersfield led the fifth inning off with a single from Chance Gusbeth, then he moved up to second on a sac bunt. Gusbeth would eventually score on a single by Dustin Frailey.

The next better was Drew Seelman, who came up with runners on first and second. He lined a single to left field, and Justin Behnke came up firing to the plate, and gunned out the runner for the third out of the inning.

"Behnke's always been a great player for us," Cloney said of the play. "We'd always yell at him because he always track down every ball that's in the air, and I think Behnke is one hell of an outfielder."

Arizona's defense has been a strong point this year with the exception of Friday night's loss to Northwestern State.

"I think it's been phenomenal," Cloney said of the defense behind him. "It's been pretty nice, and it makes being a pitcher a lot easier. It's easier to give contact. You focus on contact rather than strikeouts, and it keeps your pitch count down and you go longer in the game."

"I think we're pretty solid defensively," Matijevic added. "We've had a couple errors, but not many. We keep working every day, and keep getting better and we're doing pretty good so far."

Arizona is back at it on Sunday for two games. They start at 1:30 PM MT against Saint Mary's, and then cap off the Wildcat Invitational with a 6 PM game against Northwestern State.