PHOENIX – Nick Quintana hit two home runs and Juan Aguilera tossed five strong innings to lift the Arizona Wildcats to a 16-1 win over Grand Canyon on Tuesday night at Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark.
Quintana hit a three-run shot in the first inning and then added a solo homer in the eighth to give the sophomore third baseman six home runs in his last seven games and seven in his last nine games. Tuesday marked Quintana's first career multi-home run game and gave him seven homers on the season, surpassing his freshman total of six home runs.
The Cats wasted no time getting Aguilera an early lead to work with. Cal Stevenson started it all off with a leadoff single in the first and moved up a base two batters later when Alfonso Rivas singled with one out.
With two on and one out, Quintana came to the plate and hammered a three-run home run to left field to give Arizona an early 3-0 lead. It was the second straight game Quintana hit a home run in the first inning He entered the game 16 for his last 30 with 16 RBI in his last eight games.
Aguilera worked around a one-out double in the first inning to post a scoreless inning and the Wildcat offense went right back to work in the second inning. Matt Fraizer walked to start the inning and Jacob Blas followed with a hit by pitch to put two on with no outs. Stevenson brought Fraizer home on an RBI single and he and Blas both moved up a base on a throwing error by Grand Canyon right fielder Quin Cotton.
After a strikeout, Rivas came through again with another RBI single to score Blas and move Stevenson up to third to make it 5-0. Stevenson later scored on an error by the pitcher and Rivas was brought home on an RBI single from Cesar Salazar, which made it 7-0.
In the third, Arizona kept pouring it on. Ryan Haug was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Fraizer singled to move Haug up a base for Blas. Blas dropped down a sacrifice bunt, and reached on a throwing error, which also allowed Haug and Fraizer to score to make it 9-0. After a pair of strikeouts, Rivas came through with his third single of the night to score Blas, making it 10-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Grand Canyon finally got to Aguilera in the fifth inning, when Austin Bull singled up the middle to score Tyler Wyatt and make it 11-1. Aguilera exited after the fifth, going five and giving up the one run on six hits, while striking out four and not issuing any walks. He improved to 4-0 on the season.
Quintana doubled in the sixth and scored on a Salazar single to extend the lead back to 10 at 11-1. The sophomore third baseman's homer in the eighth made it 12-1. Blas made it 14-1 later in the inning with a two-run single, scoring Haug and Salazar.
The Cats added two more in the ninth on an RBI groundout from Seve Romo and a run-scoring hit from Fraizer.
Quintana finished 3 for 5 with four RBI and three runs scored. He's now 19 for his last 35 over his last nine games. Rivas and Salazar each had three-hit games as well in the win. Stevenson and Fraizer each had two-hit nights in the win.
Freshman Jonathan Guardado pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Aguilera and senior Ryan Gowens struck out the side in the ninth to close out the win.