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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball falls to Northwestern State 6-4 in first game of Wildcat Invitational

Emily Gauci

The Wildcats fell to Northwestern State 6-4 in the first game of the Wildcat Invitational on March 4 at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats have started the season strong with first year coach Jay Johnson. 

In its first game of the Wildcat Invitational, Arizona (5-4) fell to Northwestern State (4-4) 6-4. Adam Oller got the win for Northwestern State, pitching 6 innings, allowing only one earned run. Cameron Ming did not fair as well, only lasting 1 and 1/3 innings.

Leadoff hitter Nick Heath started the game by bunting for a single, and then stole second base. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Cort Brinson, and then scored on a two out single by Daniel Garner.

Northwestern State had runners on first and second with two outs after Ming hit David Fry on a full count, but Ming got out of the inning after getting Matthew Alford to ground out.

Ming continued to struggle in the second inning, giving up a lead off walk to William Townsend. Matt Valdez then came up, and smoked 3-1 pitch, hitting a two run home run to left field to extend their lead to 3-0.

Ming got Spencer Goodwin to fly out, but after Nick Heath reached base on an error by shortstop Louis Boyd and stole second base, Arizona head baseball coach Jay Johnson decided to take him out of the game and put Robby Medel in.

“He still had movement in his pitches, but he was just leaving the ball up,” catcher Cesar Salazar said. He was not him (self) today, but he will be stronger. He’ll get back on the mound and do a great job like he always does.”

Medel did a good job of relieving Ming and was able to get Bret Underwood and Brinson out to prevent the damage from getting worse.

Arizona would fight back to tie the game in the bottom of the 2nd. JJ Matijevic reached second on an error by Garner in center field and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Bobby Dalbec was then hit, and Behnke hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Matijevic.

Dalbec then scored from second on a throwing error by Oller, which also allowed Cesar Allowed to get to second. Ramer then walked, and Alfonso Rivas hit a single to drive in Salazar to tie the game.

“I was just trying to stay relaxed,” Rivas said. “I knew it was a big situation and I didn’t want to make anything bigger than that.” I was just trying to get my pitch (and) put a good swing on it.”

Both offenses settled down in the third, and it looked like Medel was going to shut down the Demons after striking out both Valdez and Goodwin. However, he then hit Heath, and he advanced to second once again, this time on a balk. Underwood drove him in, putting Northwestern up 4-3.

Medel gave up another single to Brinson, and Johnson took him out and put right-hander Kevin Ginkel in. Ginkel was able to get Garner to fly out, but catcher’s interference on Salazar extended the inning. He kept his composure though, and got Alford to strike out.

Ginkel walked Townsend with one out in the fifth and he stole second base. Goodwin then doubled with two outs, scoring Townsend. Deason came in for Ginkel in the sixth inning, giving up a leadoff singe to Underwood. A throwing error by Deason allowed him to go all the way to third, and a single by Brinson knocked him in, giving the Demons a 6-3 lead.

All of the Wildcats relievers had their good moments of the game, but they struggled to stay consistent. They also did not get a lot of help from their defense, which committed three errors.

“They all did a good job, it was just a matter of being able to sustain it,” Johnson said. “We need some guys to push through that. We just (have to instead of gotta?) pitch down in the zone. We just got to keep going.”

After scoring 3 runs in the 2nd inning, the Wildcats had a number of missed opportunities to put more runs on the board. Behnke led the fourth inning off with a walk, but nobody could drive him in.

Dalbec led the sixth inning off and ended up scoring on a ground ball by Salazar, but it looked like it could have been a lot more when the Wildcats had runners on the corners with only one out. Matijevic led off the eighth inning with a walk, but he was stranded there. Arizona went down 1,2,3 in the ninth to conclude the game.

Arizona plays its next game of the Wildcat Invitational tomorrow against CSU Bakersfield at 6:00 p.m.

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