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Utah vs. Arizona baseball recap: Wildcat pitchers falter, drop series opener to Utes 12-5

A poor performance on the mound from many guys.

Arizona Baseball versus Oregon
Arizona LHP Randy Labaut delivers a pitch to the plate.
Rachel Huston

Thursdays have not been kind to the Arizona Wildcats.

After losing to Oregon 8-4 last Thursday, Arizona took the field a day earlier than normal for the second consecutive week, this time against the Utah Utes. The defending Pac-12 champs would dominate this affair, taking the series opener 12-5.

UA’s pitching could not get any sort of control of the strike zone in this game, walking a season-high nine Utes.

“We didn’t get a very good pitching performance tonight by probably anybody,” head coach Jay Johnson said after the game. “That’s what tonight was. I wouldn’t even say it was a bad game, just that we didn’t pitch very well and that’s a good enough team to take advantage of it.”

“You didn’t want a few guys to come up with runners on base, and it seemed like those guys were always coming up with runners on base,” Johnson continued. “We just had a hard time getting that third out and finishing the innings.”

Utah was 6-for-13 when there were two out in an inning. When there were opportunities to advance baserunners, the Utes were 21-for-33.

The Arizona pitching lines would end up looking like this:

  • Randy Labaut: 1 23 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 HP, 1 K
  • Seve Romo: 1 13 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Landon Faulkner: 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER (4 R), 2 BB, 1 HP, 2 BK
  • Austin Schnabel: 23 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • Juan Aguilera: 1 13 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Robby Medel: 2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 HP, 1 K

This also happens to be the group of pitchers that Arizona seems to only pitch when they’re trailing in a game.

“That’s a tough puzzle to figure out,” Johnson explained of the arms he used in this contest. “We were a hit away three or four times from getting a chance to get one of the ‘upper tier’ guys in the game if you will. We just couldn’t quite get that hit and we couldn’t quite get the inning finished the next time to give our offense to tie the game. That happened like four times and that makes it tricky.”

Arizona did have an early lead in this game.

On an 0-2 pitch, Alfonso Rivas lifted one just over the red line in right field for a solo home run to give UA a 1-0 lead in the first inning. It was his fourth homer of the year.

Utah would then respond with one in the second and two in the third to start their string of scoring in seven straight innings. The only other time the Utes went scoreless was in the ninth.

Cal Stevenson hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the third, a solo shot to right field.

UA pitching just kept leaking oil throughout the night though, never allowing the team to make any sort of comeback.

Arizona almost had its first perfect inning of the night in the fifth when Faulkner set down the first two Utes quickly.

But a double and a walk brought up Dallas Carroll, who hit a sharp grounder to first.

That’s when the Wildcats’ defensive inabilities reared their ugly heads, resulting in a two-run mess of a play to give the Utes a 6-2 lead at the time.

This was not the only time JJ Matijevic was questionable in the field on Thursday. In the next inning, an RBI single was sent to right center. When Stevenson fired home, the throw drifted a bit up the first base line. Instead of cutting it off, Matijevic stood there and let the ball roll by him and eventually to the backstop.

The mistake gave the Utes another free base and was unfortunately a second throwing error charged to Stevenson. That runner would not score.

Utah added two more in the seventh thanks to this bomb over everything in right from Wade Gulden.

Mitchell Morimoto hit a sac fly in the 7th to plate the Wildcats’ fifth run of the game.

Arizona will try to even the series on Friday night. JC Cloney will be the presumed starter for the Wildcats, facing off against RHP Riley Ottesen. First pitch is scheduled for 7 PM PT, and the game will be shown on Pac-12 Network.

Pac-12 Baseball Standings

Team Conference record Overall record
Team Conference record Overall record
Oregon State Beavers 27-3 46-4
Stanford Cardinal 19-9 38-14
UCLA Bruins 18-10 29-24
Arizona Wildcats 15-12 36-17
California Golden Bears 13-14 23-28
Washington Huskies 13-15 27-25
Utah Utes 12-15 24-24
Oregon Ducks 11-17 29-24
Washington State Cougars 10-18 24-27
Arizona State Sun Devils 8-19 23-29
USC Trojans 7-21 20-33