JC Cloney tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Zach Gibbons provided a clutch two-run triple to lift the Arizona Wildcats to a 4-1 win over Oregon State on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The victory gives Arizona the series win over Oregon State for the first time since 2012 and a home series victory over the Beavers for the first time since 2007. The Wildcats are now 30-16 on the season and 13-10 in Pac-12 play. Oregon State, ranked No. 13 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, fell to 39-14 and 10-10.
Arizona has now won all four of its home conference series’ this year, which is the highest total since the team moved into Hi Corbett in 2012. Overall, Arizona is 19-5 at home this season with a staff ERA of 2.33.
The ERA went down after Saturday’s performance by JC Cloney and reliever Kevin Ginkel. Cloney went 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and no walks, while striking out four. He tossed 113 pitches with 76 going for strikes. The junior left-hander has walked just one batter in his last 28 innings.
Cloney is 3-1 at Hi Corbett this season with a 1.11 ERA in 32 1/3 innings with 23 strikeouts, four walks and four earned runs. The lefty got plenty of run support early Saturday to ensure his fourth win of the season.
The Wildcats broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with three runs. Louis Boyd led off the inning with a walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Justin Behnke. After Cody Ramer walked to put two on, Gibbons launched a triple down the right field line to score Boyd and Ramer and make it 2-0.
JJ Matijevic followed Gibbons with a double into the right-centerfield gap to score Gibbons and make it 3-0.
Cloney exited with two outs in the seventh with two men on. Kevin Ginkel came on, and after issuing a walk, struck out Logan Ice to end the inning and keep the bases loaded.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning to give Ginkel some breathing room. Boyd singled with one out and then moved to second on a balk. The shortstop then moved up a base on a groundout from Behnke.
Ramer followed with a walk and then both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, plating Boyd and making it 4-0.
Ginkel allowed two men to reach in the eighth, but kept the Beavers off the scoreboard when he got shortstop Trevor Morrison to ground out to Ramer at second to end the inning. After Arizona didn’t plate a run in the eighth, the Beavers tried to stage a ninth-inning rally off Ginkel.
The first batter of the inning, Cadyn Grenier, doubled off Gibbons’ glove in right field to lead off the inning. Christian Donahue then singled to put runners on the corners with no one out. Second baseman Nick Madrigal then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Grenier and make it 4-1. Donahue was out at second on the plate.
Ginkel finished the game when he got Ice to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Ginkel finished going 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out one. He earned his second save of the season.
Arizona had five hits in the game with Ramer, Gibbons, Matijevic, Kyle Lewis and Boyd providing the hits. Gibbons is now at 249 career hits and will tie Ron Hassey for 10th all-time on Arizona’s career hit list with his next base knock.
Gibbons will have a chance to get it Sunday at noon when the Cats and Beavers finish off their three-game series. The Pac-12 Network will have the broadcast with Roxy Bernstein and Kevin Stocker on the call.
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