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Arizona baseball: Three Up, Three Down: ASU series

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An underwhelming weekend at the plate

JC Cloney kept the big inning from happening in Arizona's only win of the ASU series
JC Cloney kept the big inning from happening in Arizona's only win of the ASU series
Jason Bartel

The Arizona Wildcats were unable to take the season series from the Arizona State Sun Devils, and a lot of it had to do with a sudden ice age at the plate for the Cats.

Over the course of the weekend, U of A only had 17 hits in 88 ABs, good for a team average of .193. They were hitting .293 heading into the three-game set.

Two bad innings really did the team in. On Friday, it was a five-run first that gave the Devils a 5-2 win. And on Sunday, it was a four-run seventh leading to a 5-1 series-clinching loss. Sandwiched in between was a game without the big inning, and an Arizona win, as the Wildcats took that one by a score of 4-2.

On to the top performers from the weekend, and the guys who struggled the most:

Three Up:

1. JC Cloney

You could argue that Nathan Bannister still had a decent start on Friday, despite allowing five runs (two earned) in the first, but the lone pitcher this week will be Cloney. He improved to 5-3 on the year by starting Saturday with seven scoreless innings. He would give up a home run in the 8th, and then get charged with a second run after one of his runners he left on base scored. Cloney was also super efficient, only needing 79 pitches to get through 7 2/3 innings.

2. Ryan Aguilar

The only threat in the middle of Arizona's order right now is the senior first baseman left fielder. He was only 3-for-10 (all doubles) with a walk, but his at bats are significantly better than anyone else around him in the lineup. Being able to put him in left has allowed Jay Johnson to put the best defensive lineup out there, even if Arizona is committing more errors now than ever before this year. That doesn't have to do with Aguilar in left and JJ Matijevic now at first though. Aguilar had a couple of outfield assists on top of his decent weekend at the plate. Him and Cody Ramer are also the only two guys to start every single game this year.

3. Zach Gibbons

Ho-hum, just another 3-for-9 with four walks weekend for Gibbons. This actually lowers his season batting average to .387 as the quest for a Pac-12 batting title rages on. He's now within one hit of 9th place (Todd Trafton) on Arizona's all-time hit list.

Three Down:

1. Bobby Dalbec

People keep expecting him to snap out of whatever is happening. It's a little late for that. After missing last weekend with a knee infection, the junior righty went 1-for-12 at the plate, striking out four times. On the mound, he pitched 2 2/3 innings total in two appearances, allowed six hits and walked two guys. That's a WHIP of 3. Was he still dealing with soreness in the knee? Maybe. But that's a lot of not helping the team.

2. JJ Matijevic

He was fine at first base, but 1-for-11 at the plate when hitting 3rd and 5th in the lineup is not fine. The middle of the lineup right now is so bizarrely awful.

3. Bench depth

On Sunday, it became painfully obvious how scarce the options are if a pinch-hitter is needed. With Ryan Haug out with a cracked vertebrae, it left a bench of Alfonso Rivas, Jared Oliva, and that's about it. No one else sitting there has double-digit ABs or more than one hit this year. This is a huge problem when you have two relief pitchers (Dalbec and Rivas) where you'll likely have to give up the DH spot at some point to use.

Arizona closes out Pac-12 play this weekend when they face the Oregon Ducks on the road. The three-game series starts Friday at 4 PM PT on Pac-12 Networks.