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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Oliva and Matijevic take a swing at the pros

Justin Rex

Arizona junior infielder JJ Matijevic connects for a single on a pitch from Delaware on Saturday, June 3 at Dan Law Field in game 3 of the NCAA Lubbock Regional. Matijevic was selected in the 2nd round, 75th overall, by the Houston Astros in the 2017 Major Leauge Baseball Draft.

Major League Baseball began its annual draft June 12 and finished two days later, with 1,215 players selected to further their dreams of making it to the big leagues.

Six University of Arizona players were selected in this year’s draft, with two already producing for their Minor League Baseball clubs.

Four of the six Wildcats are sticking with the red and blue for another year, but juniors JJ Matijevic and Jared Oliva — drafted by the Astros and Pirates respectively — signed professional contracts and made their professional debuts this summer.

JJ Matijevic debuted for the Tri-City ValleyCats, the single-A affiliate for the Astros, and got his first hit during the game. He followed up with two more hits for an impressive 3-4 night.

Through 23 games now, Matijevic has a .279 batting average, a .779 on-base plus slugging percentage, 14 RBIs and four home runs. During his third game in the minors, Matijevic came through and hit his first of the 14 RBIs, followed by his first home run during his eleventh game with the VallyCats.

Oliva debuted with the West Virginia Black Bears — also a single-A team — and registered an RBI for the night. After being in the lineup for 21 games, he has a .267 batting average, with 10 RBIs, six doubles and a triple.

Oliva and the Black Bears are currently atop the New York-Penn League, Pinckney with a .636 win percentage, and Matijevic and the ValleyCats are third in the New York-Penn League, Stedler with a .455 win percentage.

On the 27th, the ValleyCats will begin a three game series against Staten Island. The Black Bears will also start a three game series, but against Auburn.

All six Arizona players selected in this year’s draft had their names inscribed on the MLB Wall at the UA, which recognizes every Wildcat who has played professionally.

Follow Rachel Huston on Twitter.

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