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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bullpen struggles lead to Wildcats being swept by Utah

Emily Gauci/Arizona Athletics
Arizona pitcher JC Cloney (21) throws to first to catch a UCLA player on Thursday, March 24. Cloney and the UA starters found success against Utah, but a bullpen struggle led to the Wildcats’ being swept.

No matter which relief pitcher Arizona head coach Jay Johnson put in the game against Utah, the results weren’t ideal.

Bobby Dalbec, a usually dominant reliever, was tagged for three runs and didn’t record a single out, as he blew the Wildcats’ 3-0 lead in game one.

In game two, Cody Moffett allowed two runs and Austin Rubick allowed three, as the Wildcats’ four-run lead vanished in the ninth inning.

Finally, in game three, starter Cody Deason was pulled in the eighth inning and replaced by Cameron Ming after Deason surrendered the lead. With the game still tied at 2-2, Ming had a chance to get the game to the ninth with the tie intact, but he couldn’t stop the bleeding. Ming allowed a two-run double to give Utah a decisive 4-2 lead.

Arizona’s bullpen was solid this season until the Utah series. Johnson can only hope the struggles don’t become a trend.

While the bullpen had trouble closing games out, Arizona’s starting pitchers were excellent against Utah. Nate Bannister held the Utes scoreless until the sixth inning in the series opener Friday and finished with a final line of 6.2 innings, eight hits, three runs, a walk and four strikeouts.

JC Cloney, who was supposed to start Friday, but had his start pushed back after an illness, followed it up with a stellar performance of his own Saturday. He pitched 7.1 innings, allowing just five hits and two runs.

Deason held the Utes scoreless for the first seven innings in the series finale and retired 13 straight batters at one point. In the eighth, though, the Utes finally got to him and scored four runs en route to the comeback victory.

Still, Deason shut down Utah for most of the game and certainly put the Wildcats in a great position to win.

That was the theme of the weekend. The starting pitchers turned in exceptional outings, but Arizona just couldn’t close out.

The Wildcats return to action Monday in a one-game showdown against BYU in Provo, Utah. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.

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