BB: Cats end season on winning note

BB: Cats end season on winning note
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, AZ - Bobby Dalbec homered and pitched seven strong innings on the mound, pacing Arizona to a season-ending 8-1 victory over Hawai'i Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats finish the season with a 31-24 overall record.

Arizona plated a run in each of the first three innings, then erupted for four runs in the fifth and later added a lone run in the seventh to cap the scoring.

Hawai'i mustered only an unearned in the third off Dalbec (W, 3-7), avoiding a shutout in the season finale. The loss dropped the Rainbow Warriors to 21-32 for the season.

Starter Jarrett Arakawa (L, 3-5) took the loss for the visiting club, yielding five earned runs on seven hits and a walk over 4.2 innings.

Dalbec helped his own cause on the mound by scoring twice. His solo homer in the third inning was his 15th of the season, which surely locked up the regular season home run crown in the Pac-12 Conference.

The right-hander turned in seven-plus innings in his seventh and final start of the inning. He surrendered only three hits and a walk, while striking out three.

Scott Kingery went 2-for-5 with a run scored. But the bigger storyline was that the junior, who will have the opportunity to be drafted high in June's Major League First-Year Player Draft, effectively locked up the regular season batting title finishing at a .392 clip.

Fellow junior Kevin Newman shined in what was likely his last game as the Wildcats' starting shortstop, where he has started all 165 games of his collegiate career. The projected first-round draft selection went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and another batted in Sunday.

Both Kingery and Newman each received ovations from the crowd of 2,191 when they reached base in their eighth-inning at-bats, which brought senior Riley Moore to the plate for the final time in his career.

The crowd rose as one to salute the four-year starting catcher, a remaining member of 2012 national championship team that started more than 200 games the last four seasons.

While Moore, who was 1-for-5 with a run scored, grounded out in the final at-bat, the respect showed by the crowd to the highly touted juniors and popular senior will be remembered for some time in these parts.

Robby Medel, who took over for Dalbec in the eighth, completed two scoreless innings of relief. He finished off the season for the Wildcats with a game-ending strikeout.

Arizona will miss out on postseason play for the third consecutive season with the NCAA Tournament field announced Monday.

GAME NOTES: Scott Kingery finishes the season with a .392 batting average. Depending upon the rest of the Pac-12 results, he is expected to finish as the regular season batting champion. Former Wildcats Johnny Field (2012) and Brandon Dixon (2013) are the most recent UA players to win batting titles … Bobby Dalbec hit his 15th home run of the season, also likely locking up the league crown in that category. The last UA player to lead the conference in home runs was Shelley Duncan, who hit 24 in 2001 … Casey Bowman collected his first career base hit with a bunt single … Arizona won at least 30 games for the 12th time in the last 14 years … The Wildcat pitching staff closed the season issuing only 131 walks, which easily sets a school record for data available dating to the 1957 season … Arizona hit 31 home runs in 2015, the most since belting 35 in 2010.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.