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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball clinches series with a one-hitter against the Trojans

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Anthony Ruggiero

Arizona’s Randy Labaut pitches to USC during the UA-USC game on Saturday, April 1. 

The Arizona baseball team defeated USC 5-1 Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field behind an impressive performance by starter Randy Labaut. The win clinched the series for the No. 13 Wildcats and put them in line to complete the sweep in the finale Sunday afternoon.

The game did not start out in UA’s favor as USC got on the board early in the first after Lars Nootbar tripled to left center to score David Edson who walked to lead off the game.

The Wildcats tied the game at one in the third when Jared Oliva hit an RBI single to left to score Louis Boyd. UA promptly took the 2-1 lead when Alfonso Rivas scored on a wild pitch.

Labaut struggled with his command in the first inning, but settled in nicely after the initial hiccup as the triple was the only hit he allowed in his six innings of work. The junior college transfer, who was coming off a solid appearance in his first career start last weekend against then No. 2 Oregon State, finished with four strikeouts and three walks.

“I was trying to get settled in the first inning and I fell behind a couple hitters and then I got back to my routine with everything I’ve been working on with the coaches,” Labaut said. “I just give the credit to the coaches and the team behind me helping turn double plays and Jared hitting two runs in took the pressure off my shoulders a little bit.”

Oliva came through again in the bottom of the fifth with another RBI single to score Boyd from second and give UA a 3-1 lead. However, the Wildcats did not stop there as the next batter, J.J. Matijevic, launched a two-run homerun to right center to extend the lead to 5-1. The home run was Matijevic’s third of the season. Arizona head coach Jay Johnson raved about the success Oliva has had so far this season while also commending his character and make-up.

“For my money, he’s [Oliva] one of the best players in college baseball right now in terms of the value he adds to our team offensively and defensively,” Johnson said. “I hate saying this because it sounds like the teacher’s pet but if I had a kid and you could tell me he’s going to be like one of these people, Oliva would be the guy I would choose.”

Cody Deason relieved Labaut in the seventh and put together three strong innings of work in which he walked one and struck out five. The two pitchers combined to allow one run on one hit with nine strikeouts. USC hitters went a combined 1-10 with runners on base.

The Wildcats offense wasn’t much better as they only tallied four hits in the win. However, the team got the right hit at the right time as Oliva’s two RBI singles came with two outs and runners in scoring position. Matijevic’s long home run came with two outs as well.

UA will look to complete the sweep of USC Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hi Corbett.


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