TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona Wildcats scored four runs in the seventh inning to erase a two-run deficit and top McNeese State 8-3 Friday night at Hi Corbett Field in front of 2,528 fans.
The win moved the Wildcats to 6-0 on the season, giving them their first 6-0 start since the 2007 season.
The Cats trailed 3-1 heading into the seventh inning, but went to work on McNeese State’s first reliever of the game, Aidan Anderson. Jared Oliva singled to open the inning and Cameron Cannon blooped one of his own to put two men on for Louis Boyd. Boyd then singled over the first baseman’s head and Oliva raced around from second to score and make it 3-2.
After a Cal Stevenson walk, McNeese State picked up a strikeout for the first out of the inning. But with the bases loaded, Alfonso Rivas grounded out to first base to score Cannon and move Boyd and Stevenson up a base. JJ Matijevic then reached on an error to score Boyd and give Arizona its first lead of the game. Nick Quintana followed with a single off the pitcher to score Stevenson and make it 5-3 in favor of the cats.
Reliever Cameron Ming tossed a scoreless eighth and the Cats went right back to work in the bottom half of the inning. Oliva walked and stole second to start the inning. Kyle Lewis then walked to put two on. Boyd dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up a base. Oliva then scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-3. After a Stevenson walk, Mitchell Morimoto had a bunt single to score Lewis. Matijevic capped the scoring for the inning and the game with a single to center field to score Stevenson and make it 8-3.
It’s the third straight game Arizona has erased a deficit en route to earning a win. Friday’s comeback was made possible by sophomore right-hander Michael Flynn, who was dominant in relief of starter Tylor Megill.
Megill suffered some bad luck in the first inning and ended up giving up three runs on one hit, one walk and two hit batsmen, before being replaced by Flynn. Flynn gave up an infield single to the first batter he faced, but then retired the next 18 batters he faced.
All total, the sophomore from Servite High School, pitched six innings, allowing just the one hit. He didn’t allow any runs or walks, and struck out seven. Flynn hasn’t given up a run yet this season in 9 1/3 innings. He earned the win and is now 1-0 on the season. The six innings and seven strikeouts both marked career highs for Flynn, who went 1-0 as a freshman last season.
Ming came on to toss a scoreless eighth and Landon Faulkner got the final three outs, two via strikeout. Offensively, Arizona got two hits each from Morimoto, Matijevic, Quintana and Boyd. Quintana had a pair of RBI. Boyd drove in a run and scored a run. Oliva went 1 for 2 with two runs scored, two walks and a stolen base.
The Cats will look to move to 7-0 on Saturday against the Cowboys. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
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