By Daniel Berk / UA Sports
LUBBOCK, Texas – The Arizona Wildcats saw their 2017 season come to an end Sunday afternoon, falling to Sam Houston State, 9-3, at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The Wildcats conclude their season with a 38-21 record and the only Pac-12 team to make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bearkats scored one run in the first inning and then erupted for an eight-run second inning to take a 9-0 lead after two innings.
The Wildcats attempted to mount a comeback in the fourth inning and plated a couple of runs. Alfonso Rivas opened the inning with a single and moved up a base when Ryan Haug was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up a base on a passed ball and then Rivas scored on an infield single from Nick Quintana.
Cesar Salazar followed with a base hit of his own to score Haug and make it 9-2. Kyle Lewis then followed with an infield single to load the bases with no outs for Louis Boyd. Boyd drilled a liner that was snagged by first baseman Hunter Hearn. Hearn made a leaping catch and then beat Lewis back to first base for a double play to flip the momentum.
The Cats threatened again in the fifth inning when JJ Matijevic and Haug were each hit by a pitch to put two runners on with two outs. Quintana then drove a ball to deep right-centerfield that was caught by centerfielder Bryce Johnson for the final out of the inning.
Relievers Robby Medel, Randy Labaut, Luke Soroko and Austin Schnabel combined for six scoreless innings after the eight-run second inning to continue to give the Wildcats a shot, but every rally was stunted.
In the ninth inning, Boyd, a senior from North Vancouver, British Columbia, led the frame off with his first career home run to make it 9-3. Later in the inning, Matijevic doubled for his 30th two-base hit of the season. That tied him with Dave Stegman (1976) for most doubles in a single season by an Arizona Wildcat.
Matijevic finished the season with 40 extra-base hits, the most by an Arizona player since former first-round pick Trevor Crowe had 49 in 2005.
Salazar and Boyd each finished with two-hit games to lead the Wildcats offensively. Each player drove in one run. Matijevic went 1 for 4 to finish the season with a .381 batting average.
Cody Deason, who started for the Wildcats, took the loss to fall to 5-3 on the season.
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