[ {"id":"69f1f0c3-f4f3-57b8-a5f4-8e96c20c738e","type":"article","starttime":"1490158500","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-21T21:55:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1490159043","priority":30,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Cody Deason makes bid for rotation spot in Arizona Wildcats\u2019 6-3 victory","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_69f1f0c3-f4f3-57b8-a5f4-8e96c20c738e.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/cody-deason-makes-bid-for-rotation-spot-in-arizona-wildcats/article_69f1f0c3-f4f3-57b8-a5f4-8e96c20c738e.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/cody-deason-makes-bid-for-rotation-spot-in-arizona-wildcats/article_69f1f0c3-f4f3-57b8-a5f4-8e96c20c738e.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"After struggling out of the bullpen, the sophomore right-hander throws three and two-thirds scoreless innings vs. powerful New Mexico State.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/57128b791d145.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"69f1f0c3-f4f3-57b8-a5f4-8e96c20c738e","body":"

The Arizona Wildcats are more than a third of the way through the regular season, but their quest for starting-pitching depth continues.

Cody Deason made a bid to be included in that search Tuesday night.

The sophomore right-hander made his first start of the season and pitched 3\u00ba scoreless innings to pick up the win in No. 9 Arizona\u2019s 6-3 victory over New Mexico State at Hi Corbett Field. It was a performance that shouldn\u2019t be taken lightly.

For one thing, Deason had been struggling out of the bullpen. Largely because of a disastrous initial outing against Eastern Kentucky, Deason carried a 14.40 ERA into Tuesday. He had surrendered 12 hits and eight earned runs in five innings.

For another, New Mexico State (13-9) has one of the best offenses in the nation. The Aggies came to Tucson ranked second in the country in batting average and on-base percentage. They trailed only the Wildcats in those categories.

Deason limited New Mexico State to three hits and one walk, striking out two. It was an encouraging outing for a talented but inconsistent pitcher who threw key relief innings for Arizona during last year\u2019s postseason.

Deason pitched out of trouble in the second and third innings and stranded three runners. He exited with two on and two out in the fourth. Reliever Landon Faulkner got out of the jam with a groundout to shortstop Kyle Lewis.

Senior left-hander JC Cloney is ensconced as Arizona\u2019s No. 1 starter. Righty Michael Flynn and lefty Rio Gomez followed him in the rotation against Hartford and UCLA, with mixed results. UA coach Jay Johnson\u2019s track record suggests those spots are subject to change.

Arizona (16-4) scored two runs apiece in the second and third innings against New Mexico State\u2019s Jonathan Groff, the Aggies\u2019 usual Friday starter. The Wildcats added two more in the sixth off reliever Andy Frakes via a Lewis double to left field.

Lewis had two hits and three RBIs. Cory Voss, making his fifth start of the season at DH, had two hits and two RBIs.

The UA remained unbeaten at home, improving to 12-0 at Hi Corbett.

"}, {"id":"03b58e5e-0c65-11e7-98f2-77a818bd7e31","type":"article","starttime":"1489901340","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-18T22:29:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1489901659","priority":20,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"},{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona Wildcats baseball, softball teams combine for four wins Saturday","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_03b58e5e-0c65-11e7-98f2-77a818bd7e31.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/arizona-wildcats-baseball-softball-teams-combine-for-four-wins-saturday/article_03b58e5e-0c65-11e7-98f2-77a818bd7e31.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/arizona-wildcats-baseball-softball-teams-combine-for-four-wins-saturday/article_03b58e5e-0c65-11e7-98f2-77a818bd7e31.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Both teams sweep, one day after being delayed by rain and fog.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"3cc2fdc0-a50d-5d4f-b29a-62aafc4a0927","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cc/3cc2fdc0-a50d-5d4f-b29a-62aafc4a0927/5743b387b95b7.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cc/3cc2fdc0-a50d-5d4f-b29a-62aafc4a0927/5718169b96f74.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cc/3cc2fdc0-a50d-5d4f-b29a-62aafc4a0927/5743b387b95b7.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cc/3cc2fdc0-a50d-5d4f-b29a-62aafc4a0927/5743b387b95b7.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"03b58e5e-0c65-11e7-98f2-77a818bd7e31","body":"

Rain and fog, respectively, prevented the Arizona Wildcats baseball and softball teams from opening Pac-12 play on Friday night.

Saturday, the UA made up for it.

The fifth-ranked softball team swept Oregon State 6-2 and 7-1 in Corvallis, Oregon; hours later, the 12th-ranked Wildcats baseball team wrapped up a doubleheader sweep of the Bruins in Westwood.

Coach Jay Johnson\u2019s team won 4-3 after taking Game 1, 19-4. JC Cloney pitched five innings of one-run ball in the early game, securing his second win. Michael Flynn, Randy Labaut and Cameron Ming combined to top the Bruins in the nightcap. Arizona (15-3, 2-0) will wrap up their series at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Danielle O\u2019Toole and Taylor McQuillin both won their starts in the softball sweep. O\u2019Toole allowed two runs on five hits, while McQuillin gave up one run on four hits. The Wildcats (28-1, 2-0) and Beavers play their final at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Every so often, the tailback comes out in Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson.

This is what Johnson, a former high school running back, had to say about the Wildcats\u2019 defensive issues this season: \u201cGood teams take care of the ball and limit scoring opportunities. We need to do a better job of that.\u201d

In Johnson\u2019s mind, errors are like turnovers. Arizona is giving the ball away too much this season \u2013 a trend that can\u2019t continue if the Wildcats are going to contend in the Pac-12.

Arizona begins conference play Friday night with the first of three games at UCLA. A three-game series at Oregon State follows next weekend.

Only the fourth-ranked Beavers (14-1) had a better record than the 12th-ranked Wildcats (13-3) entering Thursday night. No league team had more errors (29) or a worse fielding percentage (.953) than Arizona.

As a result, the UA has allowed 21 unearned runs, the most in the conference. Oregon State had surrendered 24 total runs entering its Pac-12 opener at Arizona State on Thursday night.

\u201cWe have a saying: We won\u2019t accept in winning what we would in losing,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cThere\u2019s things we have to improve on that we\u2019re working hard on improving. Guys are getting exposed a little bit. We\u2019ll keep cracking rocks.\u201d

Arizona\u2019s offense has masked its defensive inconsistencies thus far. The Wildcats led the nation in batting average (.357) and on-base percentage (.450) entering Thursday.

But Arizona will face better and deeper pitching in conference play. The Wildcats got a preview of it Wednesday night. Seventh-ranked Cal State Fullerton shut out Arizona, limiting the Wildcats to three hits.

UCLA (6-9) is off to a slow start and takes a four-game losing streak into Friday\u2019s matchup. It isn\u2019t for lack of pitching: The Bruins have a 2.98 team ERA and a legitimate ace in junior right-hander Griffin Canning.

Arizona counters with senior JC Cloney, who\u2019s working with an entirely different infield from the one that helped the Wildcats reach the College World Series finals last year.

Two of this year\u2019s regulars are freshmen: second baseman Cameron Cannon and third baseman Nick Quintana. They have combined for 14 errors.

\u201cYou\u2019re going to go through those phases as a freshman,\u201d senior infielder Kyle Lewis said. \u201cIt\u2019s testing them right now, so we\u2019re going to see what they\u2019re made of. I think it\u2019s a good thing.\u201d

Lewis has taken over as the starting shortstop with fellow senior Louis Boyd out of the lineup because of a left-arm injury. Boyd had gotten off to an unusually rocky start defensively with four errors, but he stabilized the defense last season and provided continuity this year amid all the other changes. His presence also enabled Johnson to platoon Lewis and Cannon at second, easing the pressure on the freshman. Boyd is expected to be about another month.

Johnson used upperclassmen Seve Romo and Sawyer Gieseke as late-inning defensive replacements against Hartford on Sunday. But the only path to real improvement is through repetition and experience.

Arizona worked on infield fundamentals before batting practice Sunday morning. The Wildcats are going to keep working at it until they get it right.

\u201cIt\u2019s been a rough patch,\u201d Lewis said. \u201cBut I think if you keep sticking with it, it\u2019ll take care of itself. We\u2019re taking those baby steps that I think can make a big difference.\u201d

Inside pitch

\u2022 Johnson on opening Pac-12 play at UCLA and Oregon State: \u201cYou\u2019re talking about the two kingpins of the Pac-12 over the last 10 years on the road in the first two weekends. We\u2019re trying to build a program that will catch up with those guys.\u201d

\u2022 Canning hasn\u2019t figured in a decision, but he ranks first in the Pac-12 in opponent batting average (.138), second in strikeouts (38, in 28 innings) and third in ERA (0.96). He also has a 0.89 WHIP.

\u2022 Cloney ranks fourth in the conference with a 1.00 ERA . He has won all four of his starts and has walked only four batters in 27 innings.

\u2022 Junior outfielder Mitchell Morimoto\u2019s 15-game hitting streak to start his UA career ended at Fullerton. Junior first baseman JJ Matijevic has reached base in all 16 games.

Matijevic and junior outfielder Jared Oliva were tied for the national lead in doubles (11) entering Thursday.

Sophomore right-hander Michael Flynn (2-0. 1.40) is slated to start for Arizona on Saturday. Sunday\u2019s starter is TBA.

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The Arizona Wildcats continued their crazy offensive onslaught Sunday afternoon, defeating Hartford 17-13 to secure a series sweep. No. 11 Arizona plated 63 runs in the three games, its highest output for a series since scoring 64 in a two-game set against St. Francis in February 1995.

But in a game that featured 30 runs, 29 hits and 15 walks, it was a pitching sequence that gave UA coach Jay Johnson the most satisfaction.

With the score 15-13 in the top of the eighth inning, Hartford had runners on first and second with catcher Erik Ostberg coming to the plate. Ostberg entered Sunday batting .514, and he had worn out the Arizona pitching staff, going 8 for 11 with a home run and six RBIs.

Johnson brought in redshirt freshman left-hander Randy Labaut to face the left-handed-hitting Ostberg. On an 0-2 pitch, Ostberg grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

As Labaut approached the dugout, Johnson intercepted him and gave him a chest-bump.

\u201cI\u2019m happy for Randy,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cIt\u2019s been a long road for him.\u201d

Labaut had to sit out last season because of an NCAA-eligibility issue. He was a member of the 2016 team, which reached the final game of the College World Series, yet never played an inning. The jam he inherited in the eighth Sunday was the most stressful situation any UA pitcher faced all weekend.

\u201cThe tying run\u2019s on first base,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cIt was tough getting outs. To get two on one pitch \u2014 against a guy that had just abused our pitching staff, and our left-handed pitchers for that matter \u2014 that was a big moment in the game. It was the magic moment in the game.\u201d

Johnson cycled through nine pitchers against a persistent Hawks offense that kept counter-punching after a pair of TKOs earlier in the series. The Wildcats won the first two games by a combined score of 46-8.

Game 3 developed differently \u2014 Hartford jumped to a 6-0 lead \u2014 but Arizona kept on scoring. The Wildcats\u2019 numbers for the series will cause double-takes. Arizona accumulated a collective triple-slash line of .455/.540/.677. The Wildcats had 18 extra-base hits, including five triples and three home runs.

\u201cWe can definitely hit,\u201d said senior infielder Kyle Lewis, who had one of the triples as part of a 3-for-4 afternoon. \u201cThis weekend, we just found different ways to score runs. We weren\u2019t hitting the ball the whole weekend. We were bunting, executing, hit-and-runs. We showed a full repertoire of hitting, and it felt good.\u201d

Lewis was one of several series standouts, going 6 for 11 with eight runs scored. Some others:

Oliva had six RBIs Sunday, including a fourth-inning grand slam. The slam was the first of his career and gave Arizona its first lead.

Stevenson and Rivas were on base, as happened every time they batted. The two combined to go 6 for 6 with six walks.

Arizona is hitting .370 as a team and averaging 11.1 runs per game. But no one is swinging the bat \u2014 or seeing the ball \u2014 better than Rivas, who\u2019s hitting .462 with 21 RBIs. Rivas also has a .625 on-base percentage thanks to a 13-3 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

\u201cI feel really confident up there,\u201d the sophomore said. \u201cI always feel like I\u2019m going to succeed. I\u2019ve been sticking to my approach of being aggressive early in the count and hunting fastballs, and I\u2019ve had success with that.\u201d

The Wildcats improved to 13-2, including 11-0 at Hi Corbett Field, their best start at home since 1998. But the schedule is about to take a wicked turn.

Arizona plays seven of its next eight games on the road. The stretch starts at No. 7 Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. The UA opens Pac-12 play against UCLA on Friday. The following weekend, Arizona visits No. 5 Oregon State.

\u201cI\u2019m very confident and excited for these however many weeks we\u2019re playing on the road against \u2014 no offense to Hartford \u2014 better competition,\u201d Rivas said. \u201cI\u2019m excited because I know we\u2019re ready.\u201d

Inside pitch

"}, {"id":"ef4843c6-06c9-11e7-815b-ff53786fe64c","type":"article","starttime":"1489284960","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-11T19:16:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1489285111","priority":20,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"UA baseball team thumps Hartford at Hi Corbett Field \u2014 again","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_ef4843c6-06c9-11e7-815b-ff53786fe64c.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/ua-baseball-team-thumps-hartford-at-hi-corbett-field-again/article_ef4843c6-06c9-11e7-815b-ff53786fe64c.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/ua-baseball-team-thumps-hartford-at-hi-corbett-field-again/article_ef4843c6-06c9-11e7-815b-ff53786fe64c.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Team's 25 runs are most in 11 years.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"763dd9a5-2ff0-5a6e-b21f-16e1acc5c554","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/63/763dd9a5-2ff0-5a6e-b21f-16e1acc5c554/58b386bcce6e5.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/63/763dd9a5-2ff0-5a6e-b21f-16e1acc5c554/57128b78e9e72.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/63/763dd9a5-2ff0-5a6e-b21f-16e1acc5c554/58b386bcce6e5.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/63/763dd9a5-2ff0-5a6e-b21f-16e1acc5c554/58b386bcce6e5.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":2,"commentID":"ef4843c6-06c9-11e7-815b-ff53786fe64c","body":"

The 11th-ranked UA baseball team thumped Hartford 25-3 at Hi Corbett Field on Saturday, the most runs the team has scored in 11 years. Arizona sent 18 batters to the plate and scored 14 runs in the fifth inning. Alfonso Rivals finished 4 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Kyle Lewis added three hits.

The 25 runs are the most since the UA scored 29 against Washington State in 2006. The Wildcats (12-2) have outscored Hartford 46-8 over the last two games; the teams will play again at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"}, {"id":"38554073-c57e-510b-a8ad-34157f0ea10d","type":"article","starttime":"1489207500","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-10T21:45:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1489693928","priority":35,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"New 1-2 punch sparks Arizona Wildcats\u2019 offense in 21-5 win over Hartford","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_38554073-c57e-510b-a8ad-34157f0ea10d.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/new---punch-sparks-arizona-wildcats-offense-in-/article_38554073-c57e-510b-a8ad-34157f0ea10d.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/new---punch-sparks-arizona-wildcats-offense-in-/article_38554073-c57e-510b-a8ad-34157f0ea10d.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"JC transfers Mitchell Morimoto and Cal Stevenson are getting on base at a rate reminiscent of another persistent pair.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/57128b791d145.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"38554073-c57e-510b-a8ad-34157f0ea10d","body":"

Earlier this season, Arizona Wildcats coach Jay Johnson was asked to compare his new 1-2 hitters, Mitchell Morimoto and Cal Stevenson, to last year\u2019s pesky pair.

Zach Gibbons and Cody Ramer were the offensive catalysts for the national runners-up. Both earned All-America recognition, among other accolades. Gibbons had a .385 average and a .460 on-base percentage; Ramer came in at .348 and .441, respectively.

\u201cThose two were hall of fame,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cI just want these guys to be the best players they can be. If they can bring those things to the table, all the better for us.\u201d

Morimoto and Stevenson are bringing it. They\u2019re finding ways to get on base and get the UA offense going.

The junior-college transfers reached base six times and scored five runs in No. 11 Arizona\u2019s 21-5 victory over Hartford in the first of a three-game series Friday night at Hi Corbett Field. The 21 runs were a season high and marked the seventh time the Wildcats have scored 10 or more.

Morimoto, the left fielder from Mesa Community College, had three hits in five at-bats, giving him a 13-game hitting streak, including 10 multi-hit performances. His batting average and on-base percentage so far are Gibbons-esque: .480 and .574. (Both are right-handed batters; Stevenson and Ramer hit from the left side.)

\u201cI\u2019m not a power guy,\u201d said Morimoto, who tripled Friday and has five extra-base hits among 24 overall. \u201cI\u2019m not trying to hit for the fences. I\u2019m just trying to get on base and do my job.\u201d

Stevenson, the right fielder from Chabot College in Hayward, California, had two hits and drew his 10th walk, which is tied for the team lead. He\u2019s batting .298 with a .433 on-base mark.

\u201cI think they both understand who they are as players,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cThey\u2019re very mature offensively. It\u2019s not just the hits. It\u2019s not just the on-base percentage. It seems like every at-bat they both take (pitches), and it helps our team win. That\u2019s what you need out of guys that are going to set the table.\u201d

Sophomore Alfonso Rivas III might be the Ryan Aguilar in this new top-of-the-lineup dynamic. Arizona\u2019s most frequent No. 3 batter went 2 for 3 Friday to lift his season average to .344.

Rivas hit his second career home run, a two-run shot to right in the fourth, but the walks he drew in the second and eighth innings were perhaps more noteworthy. Rivas has walked 10 times in just 46 plate appearances \u2014 more than half as many times as he did all of last season (18). As a result, his on-base percentage is a robust .543.

\u201cHe\u2019s moving towards (being) a professional hitter,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cOur whole offense is geared around getting as many guys in the lineup who can walk and hit doubles. He\u2019s epitomizing that.\u201d

Arizona bounced back from the worst loss of the Johnson era, a 13-1 setback at Texas Tech on Tuesday. The Wildcats improved to 9-0 at home, where they have outscored opponents 111-44.

This one wasn\u2019t without a couple of bumps. Starter JC Cloney\u2019s streak of 38 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run ended in the top of the first, when Hartford catcher Erik Ostberg hit a mammoth two-run homer to center. The ball bounded off the top of the batters\u2019 eye, which is 392 feet from the plate.

Cloney, who was battling a cold, allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings to improve to 4-0. The senior lefty threw 59 of 76 pitches for strikes. His season ERA is 1.00.

The Wildcats committed a season-high five errors, giving them 23 for the season. It\u2019s the third time this year that they\u2019ve had four or more errors in a game.

\u201cThe defense thing is glaring,\u201d Johnson said. \u201cWe\u2019ve got to improve. That\u2019s why guys are here; they\u2019re not playing the World Baseball Classic right now. We\u2019ll put some extra time into it.

\u201cI\u2019m an offensive-minded coach. I like working on offense. It\u2019s not that we neglect the defense. We\u2019re just going to make it a high priority, and we\u2019re going to help guys get better.\u201d

Inside pitch

"}, {"id":"e197ea85-40ab-5863-8ed0-6995c74d67ec","type":"article","starttime":"1489096800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-09T15:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1489693928","priority":30,"sections":[{"baseball":"sports/arizonawildcats/baseball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Performances by Flynn, Gomez could be the start of something for Arizona Wildcats","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/article_e197ea85-40ab-5863-8ed0-6995c74d67ec.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/performances-by-flynn-gomez-could-be-the-start-of-something/article_e197ea85-40ab-5863-8ed0-6995c74d67ec.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/baseball/performances-by-flynn-gomez-could-be-the-start-of-something/article_e197ea85-40ab-5863-8ed0-6995c74d67ec.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"The sophomore right-hander and junior lefty have emerged as viable candidates for the rotation behind ace JC Cloney.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"74475"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/57128b791d145.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/84/f841cbd7-e015-5bf0-8a06-8c5af7fdfb3e/573fe6e28457f.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":13,"commentID":"e197ea85-40ab-5863-8ed0-6995c74d67ec","body":"

The Arizona Wildcats are back home after splitting four high-intensity games in Texas in which they learned a lot about themselves.

One possible discovery: that Michael Flynn and Rio Gomez are capable of filling out Arizona\u2019s starting rotation.

Senior JC Cloney is a given at this point, and he will start Game 1 of a three-game series against Hartford on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field. Flynn and Gomez are scheduled to follow Cloney after strong starts in last weekend\u2019s Frisco College Baseball Classic.

Flynn, a sophomore right-hander, allowed two runs and two hits in five innings against Oklahoma State \u2014 an effort easily forgotten in a game that ended in a 10-9 Wildcats\u2019 walk-off.

Those were the first runs Flynn had allowed this season after 9\u00aa innings of shutout relief, including a six-inning, one-hit outing against McNeese State on Feb. 24.

Flynn pitched 15\u00ba innings as a freshman, going 1-0 with a 5.17 ERA. His improvement this year stems from two main factors: experience and a minor mechanical adjustment.

Working with pitching coach Dave Lawn, Flynn slightly altered his arm angle and posture to create more tilt. Pitches that were coming in flat are now staying down.

\u201cIt\u2019s just the look you\u2019re giving the hitter,\u201d said Lawn, who coached Flynn\u2019s older brother, Patrick, at Servite High in Anaheim, California.

\u201cHe\u2019s always been very diligent, like anybody who\u2019s pitched good for us over the years with their throwing program. He\u2019s always been very conscientious about it being a very productive time.

\u201cThose who really pay close attention to the details of it, whatever it is on a given day, tend to show that little bit of improvement each day. And he has.\u201d

Like most players, Flynn had to work through the adjustment from high school to college. He actually limited hitters to a .228 batting average as a freshman but got behind in counts too often, walking 3.45 batters per nine innings. So far this year, his BB/9 ratio is 1.25.

\u201cYou can get away with a lot more in high school,\u201d Flynn said. \u201cYou can\u2019t get away with it here.\u201d

Gomez, a junior left-hander, didn\u2019t even make his high school team (Phoenix Desert Vista) as a senior. He spent a year at Mesa Community College but didn\u2019t pitch because of an arm injury.

A late add to the roster in the fall of 2014 when Arizona needed a lefty, Gomez became a classic late bloomer. Pitching primarily out of the bullpen, he recorded a 2.39 ERA in 37\u00ba innings in his first two seasons.

Gomez has started three times this season, with mostly sparkling results: a 2-1 record with a 1.56 ERA and a 16-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17\u00aa innings. He was a tough-luck loser Sunday in the Frisco Classic, allowing one unearned run in seven innings of a 1-0 defeat against Nebraska.

\u201cRio is emerging with a four-pitch mix,\u201d coach Jay Johnson said. \u201cHe\u2019s throwing better pitches more consistently, which is allowing him to get through the lineup multiple times. It\u2019s a great development for us.\u201d

The emergence of Flynn and Gomez as viable starters is critical for the 10-2 Wildcats, who have an established ace (Cloney) and closer (Cameron Ming) and a lot of other moving parts.

But just because Flynn and Gomez are starting against Hartford doesn\u2019t mean they\u2019ll follow Cloney in the opening series of Pac-12 play at UCLA next week. Lawn doesn\u2019t want them to view this weekend\u2019s assignments as a tryout of sorts. He doesn\u2019t want them to put too much pressure on themselves.

\u201cIt\u2019s all about being ready for the chance you might get,\u201d Lawn said. \u201cHopefully both of them keep it going, because they\u2019ve really picked us up.\u201d

Inside pitch

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Despite suffering its first loss of the season Sunday, the Arizona Wildcats baseball team has risen in the national rankings.

Thanks to victories over Arkansas and Oklahoma State at the Frisco College Baseball Classic \u2013 which boosted Arizona to a 10-0 start \u2014 the UA is ranked in the top-10 in three major polls.

Arizona is ranked fourth by Collegiate Baseball, sixth in the USA Today Coaches\u2019 Poll and ninth by D1Baseball.com. Baseball America ranks the Wildcats 11th. Even more significant, Arizona is No. 1 in the first set of RPI rankings released Monday.

Arizona lost to Nebraska 1-0 Sunday, ending its 10-game winning streak to open the season.

The UA visits Texas Tech at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in a clash of nationally-ranked teams. The Red Raiders are No. 6 in the D1Baseball.com poll and No. 12 according to Collegiate Baseball.

The game will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona Plus.

Arizona returns home for a three-game series against Hartford starting Friday.

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A lone unearned run in the first inning was all Nebraska needed to hand the University of Arizona baseball team its first loss of the year Sunday.

The Cornhuskers won 1-0 at the Frisco Classic in Frisco, Texas, scoring only when Luis Alvarado singled in Mojo Hagge in the bottom of the first.

UA (10-1) had come in averaging 10.3 runs per game but were held to just eight hits.

Mitchell Morimoto, JJ Matijevic and Kyle Lewis all had two hits for the Wildcats, who beat Arkansas and Oklahoma State in the first two games at the Classic.

Rio Gomez (2-1) took the loss, allowing only the unearned run in seven innings. He gave up seven hits and struck out five.

Jake Meyers (1-1) earned the win for Nebraska (3-6), allowing six hits in five innings. Chad Luensmann notched a four-inning save, allowing two hits.

UA next visits Texas Tech for a 5:30 p.m. game Tuesday.

Compiled from a news release

"} ]