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Arizona baseball: Three Up, Three Down: Oregon State series

The start of bigger things?

Cameron Ming's six innings of relief put Arizona in position to sweep Oregon State
Cameron Ming's six innings of relief put Arizona in position to sweep Oregon State
Jason Bartel

The Arizona Wildcats started a crucial six-game homestand in the best possible way, by sweeping the Oregon State Beavers.

Things got started with a dominating 6-1 win on Friday, followed up with a solid 4-1 victory on Saturday. It looked like the sweep was out of reach on Sunday, but after a big bottom of the 7th, the Wildcats walked away with a 3-0 record on the weekend, and are now within a half game of first place in the Pac-12.

It was all mostly good, but I'm going to narrow it down to the three best guys, and the three worst things from this past weekend at Hi Corbett.

Three Up:

1. Cameron Ming

Arizona does not get the sweep without Ming's relief appearance on Sunday. He pitched the final six innings, and only gave up one hit, which happened to be a home run by Logan Ice. He entered the game right after the Beavers put up a four-spot in the third. It looked like OSU was going to run away with this one to salvage a game. But Ming had other ideas. The lefty has been stellar of late, and could be a crucial part of a potential postseason run.

2. Nathan Bannister

In typical Bannister fashion, he dominated at home. On Friday night, he threw yet another complete game, scattering five hits along the way. If Arizona gets to host a regional, and starts it out with a guy that has a 0.89 ERA at Hi Corbett this year, then you're looking at going the easy way through that regional.

3. Zach Gibbons

Arizona's two-hole hitter has reached base in every game he has played this year. On this particular weekend, he went 4-for-11 with a walk. The senior now leads the Pac-12 with a .390 batting average this year, and is in the top ten on the all-time hits list at Arizona. There are a lot of good things happening for Gibby right now.

Three Down:

1. Defense

The Wildcats committed six errors on the weekend, including three on Saturday. How they were still able to sweep the series with that kind of fielding is beyond me, but you certainly don't want to try that every weekend.

2. Cesar Salazar

The catching situation is an interesting one right now. Ryan Haug was walking around with a crutch as he deals with back issues, so Salazar, who has his own injury issues, was forced to start all three games in this series. He unfortunately went 1-for-10, stranding four baserunners in the process. He also didn't look like the Salazar we're used to seeing behind the plate, though he was still above average.

3. Alfonso Rivas

At the plate, Rivas was 2-for-10, but did come up with the game-tying sac fly on Sunday. He actually stranded six baserunners over the course of the weekend, including three in the first three innings of the series finale. It was not a good first three innings for Rivas in general. He took the mound with one down in the top of the third, and struggled mightily with his command. He threw just nine strikes in 18 pitches, gave up three hits and a walk while allowing two unearned runs. He just never looked comfortable on the mound, but he was able to make up for it with that sac fly in the 7th.

Arizona starts the second half of this crucial homestand on Friday night when the Arizona State Sun Devils drive down the 10 for a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7 PM PT at Hi Corbett.