In front of 8,067 fans, the Arizona Wildcats evened up the series with the Arizona State Sun Devils, winning 4-2 Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The 8,067 fans mark the most for any Arizona Wildcats game played at Hi Corbett Field. In 1966, 6,373 fans filled the stands for an Arizona-Arizona State game, which stood as the most for a UA game played at Hi Corbett until Saturday night’s total.
The fans were treated to a thriller that eventually went the Wildcats way thanks to some clutch hitting and strong pitching.
Neither team plated a run over the first four innings and Arizona starter JC Cloney tossed a scoreless fifth to get the game to the bottom of the fifth scoreless. Cloney retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced over the first five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Cats got him some offensive support. Cesar Salazar and Louis Boyd started the inning with back-to-back walks to put two on with nobody gone for Justin Behnke. Behnke laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Cody Ramer then supplied a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Salazar for the game’s first run. Zach Gibbons kept the inning going when he singled to left to score Boyd and make it 2-0.
Cloney gave up a single to start the sixth, but erased the runner when the next batter, Griffin Canning, hit a line drive that fell right in front of left fielder Ryan Aguilar. Aguilar fired to second to get Jordan Aboites for the first out. Cloney then picked Canning off first base and got David Greer to ground out to get through the sixth inning.
The Cats got Cloney some more run support in the bottom of the sixth, though. Aguilar opened the frame with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from J.J. Matijevic. Kyle Lewis brought Aguilar home with a base hit to center field. Lewis then moved to third on a single from Cesar Salazar. Boyd followed with a squeeze bunt that plated Lewis to make it 4-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Cloney pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to get the game to the eighth with the Cats leading 4-0. In the eighth, ASU’s Sebastian Zawada homered to right field with one out to make it 4-1. After getting Daniel Williams to fly out, Cloney gave up two straight base hits to put two on and with two outs.
Arizona coach Jay Johnson then went to the bullpen and brought in Bobby Dalbec. The first batter Dalbec faced, Greer, singled up the middle to make it 4-2. But Dalbec ended the inning when he got Andrew Snow to strike out swinging.
The Cats loaded the bases in the eighth, but couldn’t plate a run.
Dalbec didn’t need the help, working a scoreless ninth to earn his seventh save of the season. He got Ryan Lillard to fly out to right field for the final out.
Cloney worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He struck out five, while not walking a batter. He improved to 5-3 on the season and has just one walk over his last six starts, which spans 35 2/3 innings. He also improved to 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA at Hi Corbett Field this season.
Dalbec worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out three. His seven saves this season are tied for the 10-th most in single-season school history. His 14 career saves are now tied for fifth all-time in school history.
Aguilar and Lewis each finished with two-hit nights in the win. Lewis went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI. Aguilar was 2 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored. Salazar was 1 for 1 with three walks.
The Cats and Sun Devils will wrap up their three-game series Sunday. First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m., and will be televised by Pac-12 Network. Daron Sutton and Scott Erickson will have the call. Neither team has announced a starting pitcher.
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