PULLMAN, Wash. – The Arizona Wildcats used a 12-run sixth inning Friday night at Bailey-Brayton Field to hammer their way past Washington State 19-5 in the opening game of a three-game set.
Arizona pounded out 21 hits, had six players register multiple-hit games and finished with 10 extra-base hits, marking the seventh time this season the Cats have scored more than 15 runs in a game. Alfonso Rivas reached base all five times he came to bat, going 3 for 3 with a home run, three RBI, four runs scored, a walk and a hit by pitch. JJ Matijevic finished 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles and six RBI and third-place hitter Jared Oliva also had a four-hit night, going 4 for 6 with two runs scored, two doubles and four runs scored.
The Cats didn't waste any time getting the offense going in Friday's opener. Cal Stevenson, who hit a grand slam Tuesday against Arizona State, opened the game with a leadoff home run to right field for his second homer in as many games. Stevenson's long ball marked Arizona's first leadoff homer since Cody Ramer did it on April 27 of last season at Utah.
The next three batters, Rivas, Jared Oliva and JJ Matijevic all followed Stevenson with three straight singles to load the bases with no outs for Mitchell Morimoto. Morimoto and Nick Quintana each hit deep fly balls to center field for sacrifice flies to score Rivas and Oliva and make it 3-0 six batters into the game.
Starter JC Cloney then came out with a three-run lead and got leadoff man Andres Alvarez to ground out and then tossed one pitch to No. 2 hitter Dillon Plew. After that pitch, Cloney was removed from the game with an injury and replaced by Rivas, who got through the inning unscathed, despite issuing three walks in the frame.
Still leading 3-0, Arizona added another run in the third inning. With Rivas on first, Oliva doubled to left-center to put two men on with no outs. Matijevic followed with Arizona's third sacrifice fly in three innings to score Rivas and make it 4-0.
The Cougars then got to Rivas on the mound a bit, scoring two in the third on a two-run home run from third baseman Shane Matheny. Rivas got out of the inning without any further damage, but Washington State plated two more in the fourth on two-out RBI hits from Alvarez and Plew.
From there, Arizona's offense took off and gave the pitching staff more than enough run support.
The Cats scored two in the fifth on a Matijevic double and then a double steal with Matijevic and Quintana to make it 6-4. That was nothing compared to what Arizona had in store in the sixth inning.
The Cats sent 15 men to the plate and had 10 hits, three doubles and two home runs in the frame. Louis Boyd started it all off with a single. Stevenson followed with a bunt single and Rivas walked to load the bases for Oliva. Oliva and Matijevic then produced back-to-back two-run singles to start the sixth inning onslaught. A sacrifice bunt moved Matijevic to third and Quintana brought him home with an RBI single up the middle.
Cesar Salazar followed with a double to put runners on second and third. After a foul out, Boyd singled through the left side to score Quintana and Salazar. Stevenson then walked to put two men on for Rivas, who launched a three-run home run over the wall in right-center for his third long ball of the season. Oliva then singled and was brought home when Matijevic homered to right for his third home run in the past two games after a two-homer night Tuesday against Arizona State. Matijevic's home run capped the 12-run inning and gave Arizona a 14-run cushion at 18-4.
Matijevic, who now leads the nation in doubles with 19, has 11 RBI over his last two games and now leads the team and the Pac-12 conference with 38 on the season.
The Cats added another run in the seventh on a RBI groundout from Kyle Lewis.