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Arizona baseball: JC Cloney fresh for Lafayette Regional

The pitching staff is in pretty good shape heading into the postseason.

Jason Bartel

When a team is heading into the college baseball postseason, it is key that their pitching staff is fresh, considering that they might be playing up to five games over the course of a weekend.

The Arizona Wildcats have definitely done this, especially with JC Cloney.

Last weekend against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Cloney pitched just six innings. He only needed 63 pitches to get that far before Jay Johnson decided to lift him with an 11-0 lead.

"I think we took advantage of an opportunity there," Johnson explained of his decision to take Cloney out in that spot. "We'd extended a lead, we had good game control and I felt like it gave him a little bit of a breather."

"I think it was just the score," Cloney added. "We were up 11-0 at the point they took me out to get some other guys work. And it turned out to be perfect. It was more of just getting the other guys work."

"He's pitched so many significant innings for us, and high-stress innings," continued Johnson. "A lot of the games that him and Nathan (Bannister) have pitched are 5-1, 4-1, 3-1, and you just wanna keep going with them, so it was nice to be able to get  a low pitch count and sets up well for the weekend."

Being a Friday night starter on a trip out to Hawaii certainly has its perks. Once you pitch that game, you have a free weekend in Hawaii.

"The Hawaii trip was a lot of fun," Cloney explained. "I got to go hang out in the water a little bit and got a little vacation out of business. It helped that we swept."

Cloney had to earn that fun time though. Arizona's Director of Baseball Operations Ray McIntire was the guy making sure to keep him in line on Friday night and not let Cloney get ahead of himself with the free time at the beach.

"Ray and I were talking about going snorkeling Saturday morning, and after every inning he'd come up to me and go 'Hey, you gotta earn the snorkeling tomorrow," Cloney said of his game on Friday. "And when I got taken out he said 'You earned it, so let's go'. So yeah, it was a lotta fun."

Just like Bannister and everyone else has said this week, playing at Hawaii will bode well for this team in Lafayette, since a lot of the conditions will be the same.

"Rowdy fans, humid weather so I think Coach Johnson scheduling it there was actually more of a blessing than he thought," Cloney said. "Now we'll be set up perfectly to go out to Lafayette."

"It's gonna be a lot of fun," Cloney concluded. "Hopefully Fullerton wins theirs so we can come home and host, but hey, we'll do whatever we need to do."