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Arizona baseball recap: Wildcats split first two games with Washington State Cougars

Rubber match coming on Sunday

Alfonso Rivas rounds third base
Rachel Huston

Jay Johnson joked on Tuesday that whenever the Arizona Wildcats travel to the Northwest, the wet stuff constantly falls on them.

Well, it certainly happened again this weekend when Arizona went to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars. And those first two games have been split by the two teams. Arizona won Friday night’s contest 19-6, but Wazzu repaid the favor with a 9-3 victory on Saturday.

Saturday’s result ended a six-game winning streak for Arizona and a five-game losing streak for WSU.

Friday’s win by UA was overshadowed by Arizona ace JC Cloney leaving the game due to injury after throwing just two pitches. Right now it is being deemed as left shoulder discomfort.

Alfonso Rivas was forced to take over for Cloney on the mound, and he responded well. Rivas had only recorded 5 23 innings in seven previous appearances this year, but on Friday he went 3 13 after being called on for spot duty.

The Cougars were able to tie the game up at four through four innings, but that’s when Arizona’s offense did what it does.

Arizona scored 12 runs in the sixth highlighted by a three-run bomb by Rivas and a two-run jack by JJ Matijevic. That was Matijevic’s third homer in two games, and fourth in his last four games. The Wildcats had ten hits in the frame.

From there, Cody Deason and Luke Soroko kept WSU at bay, allowing just one run in the final five frames.

On Saturday, Randy Labaut got the start for the third consecutive weekend after the start of the game was pushed back an hour due to weather (some snow). But much like his outing in a rainy Corvallis two weeks ago, Labaut struggled with his command and WSU made him pay.

Labaut gave up five hits in 2 13 innings, but also walked two guys and hit two others. That led to five earned runs (six total) for the Cougars.

Arizona’s offense also struggled early on in this one, notching just two hits in the first five innings. But a Cal Stevenson lead-off single and a Jared Oliva double in the sixth plated the Cats’ first run of the day. Oliva would later score on a deep sac fly to make it 7-2.

WSU got those two runs right back though in the bottom of the sixth with a couple of hits, an intentional walk, and a hit by pitch given up by Landon Faulkner.

Robby Medel pitched a scoreless 2 13 innings to finish this game for Arizona. The only runner that reached against him was a hit batter.

The Wildcats did load the bases with one out in the ninth, and were able to plate one run.

Matijevic notched his 20th double of the season on Saturday, which moves him within ten of the single-season school record.

Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 1 PM PT. Arizona will likely start Rio Gomez on the mound. You’ll be able to stream it here or listen to the Arizona radio broadcast.

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