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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona baseball wins opening series against Rice

    Savannah Douglas
    Arizona sophomore infielder Cody Ramer (13) prepares to hit the ball during Arizona’s 14-1 win against Washington State at Hi Corbett Field on March 14.

    New Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson did not waste
    any time making a strong first impression with his new club as the Wildcats won
    their first series against No. 24 Rice University in the skippers’ debut this
    weekend in Houston, Texas.

     Not since 2008
    against Georgia had the Wildcats won a series against a ranked opponent on the
    road to start the season.

    The Wildcats won the opener on Friday by a score of 8-1
    followed by another win the next day by a score of 6-2. The prestigious
    baseball program in Rice were able to salvage the series finale by defeating
    Arizona on Sunday by the score of 4-3.

    The 2016 season opened with a dominant performance by junior
    college transfer lefty JC Cloney who went seven innings giving up only one run
    while striking out nine with no walks.

    Coach Johnson described Cloney’s performance to the site
    D1Baseball as “stellar.”

    “I knew he was good — the day after I was hired
    I was on a plane, and the first person I met with was him. It was right during
    the draft, and I wanted to make sure we got him here. It was a great
    performance,” Johnson told D1Baseball.

    The club was led offensively in the season
    opener by senior infielder Cody Ramer who went 2-4 with 2 RBIs. Ramer finished
    the series with 6 hits, which is one more than his hit total in the entire 2015

    A bulk of Arizona’s runs came through putting
    pressure on the defense with small ball, being aggressive on the base paths and
    executing with runners in scoring position.

    Game two was a tight ball game until the eighth
    inning when Arizona broke the 2-2 tie by putting up four runs. The offensive
    theme of the first game was present again in game two and will serve as the
    team’s identity on offense moving forward.

    The inning started when first baseman Ryan
    Aguilar hit a single to left and then moved all the way to third on a bunt by
    star player third baseman Bobby Dalbec. Aguilar would come around to score on a
    suicide squeeze by SS Louis Boyd who moved to second on an error by the first

    Chaos ensued following another bunt by
    infielder Sawyer Gieseke with runners on second and third. Both runners came
    around to score on an errant throw by the third basemen to first. The first
    basemen then made another off-target throw to the catcher which allowed Gieseke
    to go to second. Gieseke later scored on a sacrifice fly by Cesar Salazar.

    Bobby Dalbec came in to pitch following 6.1
    strong innings by lefty Cameron Ming who gave up two runs on six hits. Dalbec
    finished the game without allowing a run while capturing his first win of the

    After the game Coach Johnson recognized the
    value of wins over tough opponents and how wins come in several shapes and

    “To come out last night and play solid, be in a tight game
    tonight with it being 2-2 in the eighth inning and to find a way to win is a
    good start,” head coach Jay Johnson told Arizona Athletics. “It’s not going to
    be clean all the time for any team in the country. It’s good for us to be here
    and to be able to win a couple games.”

    The Cats were unable to complete the sweep on
    Sunday as the Owls scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to take a
    4-2 lead which would go on to be the final score. The Wildcats were led on
    offense by converted second basemen JJ Matijevic.

    Arizona received another solid outing from a
    starting pitcher as Nathan Bannister went 6 innings while giving up two runs
    with three strikeouts. The bullpen was unable to preserve the 3-2 lead after
    Bannister was lifted.

    Despite not being able to complete the sweep,
    the Wildcats put on an impressive performance in its first series of the season
    against a high-quality team in Rice. The Wildcats will look to build off their
    hot start as they travel to Beaumont, Texas to play Lamar tonight.

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