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GCU vs. Arizona baseball recap: Wildcats take down Antelopes 7-3 in Phoenix

A triumphant return to Central Phoenix

Alfonso Rivas warms up before Arizona’s contest at GCU
Jason Bartel

For the first time in 14 years, the Arizona Wildcats played the Grand Canyon Antelopes in Phoenix on Tuesday night, and will make the trip back down I-10 with a 7-3 victory in hand.

The Wildcats were in control of this one essentially right from the start. UA loaded the bases in the second without recording an out, but were unable to capitalize at the time.

But in the next inning, they started the scoring the only way they know how...with a two-out rally.

The first two UA batters were retired in the third, but that didn’t stop anything. Alfonso Rivas drew a walk, and moved up to second on a single up the middle by Jared Oliva.

That brought up JJ Matijevic and his white batting gloves. He followed Oliva with another single up the middle, allowing Rivas to score early and make it a 1-0 game.

Matijevic ended up being the last batter faced by GCU starter Tyler Hansen, as he gave way to Degan Harte, a junior college transfer from Yavapai.

Harte came in and promptly launched a wild pitch to the backstop, plating Oliva from third.

GCU would get out of that inning without any further damage, but gave up two more runs in the next frame.

After a leadoff walk, an error by Lopes second baseman Austin Bull, and another walk, Mitchell Morimoto stepped to the plate. He grounded the ball to short, but as GCU was trying to turn a double play, Morimoto beat the throw to first, getting an RBI for his efforts.

With Morimoto on first Cesar Salazar on third, Arizona went for the double steal play to try and draw a throw down to second by the Lopes. They did just that, and Salazar scored before Morimoto was tagged out at first, putting the Wildcats up 4-0.

Grand Canyon answered right back, scoring two runs in the bottom half against three different Arizona pitchers.

Morimoto picked up his second RBI of the night and 17th of the year with a double down the right field line in the sixth, plating Salazar again.

Arizona added to its lead in the seventh. Matijevic led the inning off with a single to right. He moved up to second on a passed ball, and then scored on a two-strike double by Nick Quintana down the right field line.

After a sac bunt, Quintana would score on another GCU passed ball.

The Lopes were able to scratch a run across in the ninth against Tylor Megill.

Other notes:

  • Quintana has now reached base in 21 straight games, the longest streak by an Arizona freshman since Cole Frenzel had a 22 game streak in 2010.
  • Matijevic ended up with four hits in this game, three of them being singles up the middle. His batting average went up to .410. It was his third four-hit game of the year, all of which have come on the road.
  • As a team, Arizona lead-off hitters were 7-of-9 in this game. With runners on, the Wildcats were only 4-of-23 at the plate, however 12-of-28 in advancement opportunities. So there were plenty of productive outs being recorded.
  • Cameron Cannon started his 19th game of the year just a few miles from his high school of Mountain Ridge. Cannon was 0-for-1 with a walk before being pinch hit for in the fifth.
  • Cody Deason started on the mound for Arizona on Tuesday. He went just two innings but did not give up a run. He has now gone nine straight appearances without giving up an earned run. Deason struck out three Antelopes. All of GCU’s strikeouts were of the swinging variety on Tuesday.
  • Seve Romo threw 3 13 innings of scoreless baseball. He had allowed eight earned runs in 10 13 innings before Tuesday night.
  • Michael Flynn, who suffered a forearm injury in the finale of the USC series, pitched for the first time since then, taking the mound in the eighth. He gave up one hit in one inning.

Arizona resumes Pac-12 play on Friday night at 7 PM PT against the Oregon Ducks. Oregon won its fifth straight game on Tuesday night, taking down the Portland Pilots by a score of 6-1.