Cats Top Bruins Behind Cloney's Gem - Tucson News Now

Cats Top Bruins Behind Cloney's Gem

(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics) (Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)

JC Cloney pitched the first complete of his Arizona career Thursday night at Hi Corbett Field to help lift the Wildcats to a 6-1 win over No. 23 UCLA.
Cloney scattered six hits over nine innings, allowing one run and one walk, while striking out seven. The junior left-hander threw 78 of his 104 pitches for strikes.  Cloney improved to 3-1 on the season and lowered his season ERA to 2.68.

“He had all four pitches working, fastball, changeup, curveball, slider and he was in and out when he wanted to be,” coach Jay Johnson said of his hurler. “I thought he settled in and pitched a great game. It was a great team win, spearheaded by JC.”
The Bruins got to Cloney early when first baseman Sean Bouchard doubled to start the inning. He was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and then brought home on a single from Trent Chatterton to give UCLA an early 1-0 lead. Cloney got the next two batters to get out of the inning and give up just the one run.
In the bottom of the frame, the Wildcats gave Cloney all the offense he needed. The Cats started the inning with four straight hits. J.J. Matijevic started it with a single to first base on a full count. Freshman left fielder Alfonso Rivas then roped a double to right-centerfield to score Matijevic and tie the game at one. Senior right fielder Zach Gibbons then singled through the right side to move Rivas to third and put runners on the corners.
Freshman catcher Cesar Salazar then singled to score Rivas and move Gibbons all the way to third. After Louis Boyd was hit by a pitch, Jared Oliva through the left side to score Gibbons and Salazar to make it 4-1.
After Arizona made the first out of the inning, Ryan Aguilar started things up again with a single to left to score Boyd and cap the five-run inning for the Wildcats. All total, Arizona scored five runs on six hits off UCLA’s Griffin Canning, who entered the game with a 2.55 ERA in 35 1/3 innings.
Following the offensive outburst, Cloney settled into a groove. Over the next seven innings, he gave up just two hits and didn’t allow a baserunner to get past second base. He finished the game in style, retiring the last seven hitters he faced.
“He’s in good physical condition, which allows him to repeat his delivery,” Johnson said. “Because he’s able to do that, his four pitches usually show up as strikes.”
The Cats gave him another run to work with in the seventh. Aguilar started the inning with a double and moved to third on a groundout by Bobby Dalbec. After a strikeout and a walk, Gibbons singled through the right side again to score Aguilar and make it 6-1.
Aguilar, Matijevic, Rivas and Gibbons all collected two-hit games in the win with Aguilar, Rivas and Gibbons each collecting an RBI as well. Salazar went 1-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored in the win. Salazar and fellow freshman Rivas are now 14-32 (.438) in four Pac-12 games this season.
Aguilar and Gibbons have now reached base safely in all 21 games this season.

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