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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball defeats CSU Bakersfield 4-1 behind Matijevic’s grand-slam

After losing to Northwestern State Friday, Arizona baseball bounced back to defeat CSU Bakersfield 4-1 on Saturday night.

JC Cloney turned in a huge outing for the Wildcats, pitching eight innings and only giving up one earned run. It was crucial for Cloney to go eight innings after a night where the team had to use 7 pitchers.

“That’s pitching at it’s finest,” Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “It’s three pitches for strikes, it’s inside and out with the fastball, it’s a lot of deception with the changeup, and they just didn’t get very many swings. We got them extended a lot and jammed a lot, which led to a lot of fly balls.”

Cloney rolled through the Roadrunner lineup through the first four innings, only giving up two hits.

All of the Wildcats’ offense came in the third inning thanks to JJ Matijevic. He took advantage of AJ Monarrez, who was struggling to find the strike zone.

Monarrez gave up a lead off walk to Ryan Aguilar, and then Cody Ramer bunted him over to second. He then gave up two consecutive four-pitch walks to Ryan Aguilar Zach Gibbons, loading the bases for JJ Matijevic.

Matijevic said he had a feeling Monarrez would throw a fastball after throwing eight or nine balls in a row and that coach Johnson told him to be ready for it.

That’s exactly what he got, and he did not waste anytime clobbering Monarrez’s first pitch to right-center field for a grand slam, putting the Wildcats up 4-0. Matijevic is currently riding an eight game hit streak, where he has hit .452, gotten 14 hits, and 7 RBI.

Matijevic’s grand slam was all the offense the Wildcats would need.

Cloney ran into a little bit of trouble in the 5th inning, but solid defense from the Wildcats limited the damage.

Chance Gusbeth led off the inning off with an infield single, and eventually scored on a single by Dustin Frailey to make it 4-1. Drew Seelman then came to bat with two outs and runners at first and second, and drove a single to left field.

Felix tried to score from second, but Justin Behnke made a perfect throw to catcher Ryan Haug to throw him out at home plate to end the inning.

“I think Behnke is one hell of an outfielder,: Cloney said. “It’s a lot of fun having him on our team though and not the other team.”

Cloney would get right back to business in the 6th, getting David Metzgar, Max Carter, and Cody White to all fly out. He gave up a lead off single to Gusbeth in the 7th, but was able to pick him off and then get Jones to strike out and Sanchez to ground out. Cloney retired Felix, Frailey, and Seelman consecutively in the 8th.

Johnson gave Cloney an opportunity to go for the complete game in the 9th, but after he gave up a lead off single to Metzgar, he put Bobby Dalbec in to close the Roadrunners out.

After making three errors against Northwestern State, Arizona played a clean game against Bakersfield, and made a number of good defensive plays, including Behnke throwing Felix out.

Arizona wraps up the Wildcat Invitational with a doubleheader on Sunday against St. Mary’s at 1:30 p.m. and a rematch against Northwestern State at 6:00 p.m. Johnson still has not decided which pitchers will start.

“We need to go talk and assess tonight,” Johnson said. “There’s some guys that are probably fighting themselves a little bit that were hot earlier, that are maybe pressing and getting away from seeing the ball. We got to get them locked back into their hit plan, and we’ll do that tomorrow morning.”

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