Arizona, looking to get back in the win column, couldn’t find a way to get its offense clicking due to a stellar pitching performance from West Virginia’s Blaine Traxel on Saturday.
Traxel, a fifth-year senior graduate transfer from Cal State-Northridge, played four seasons for the Matadors earning All-Big West honors. He led Division 1 in complete games last year.
In Saturday’s complete game, Traxel faced 35 batters on 124 pitches, allowing one run.
West Virginia (4-2) got on the board first against the Wildcats (3-3).
In the top of the second inning, first baseman Grant Hussey doubled to left-center, scoring third baseman Ellis Garcia. Shortstop Tevin Tucker singled up the middle, scoring Hussey.
Arizona plated its only run in the bottom of the second inning when third baseman Mason White of Salpointe flied out to left field bringing center fielder Mac Bingham home.
The Wildcats were able to get some good hits, but the wind played havoc with the long ball.
In the second inning, with bases loaded, Chase Davis hit a bomb into center field. What looked like a grand slam toward the center field wall stalled and was caught for the third out.
The score remained 2-1 in West Virginia’s favor, until the fifth inning.
In the fifth, center fielder Braden Barry was hit by pitch, second baseman J.J. Wetherholt doubled to center advancing Berry to third. Catcher Dayne Leonard doubled to left field scoring Wetherholt and Barry making it 4-1 Mountaineers.
West Virginia brought one run home in the seventh inning when Wetherholt singled to right center scoring Barry making it 5-1.
Arizona left seven runners on base.
Arizona head coach Chip Hale on his teams at-bats: “Chase Davis hit a ball a hundred and some miles an hour, would have been a home run any other day. Sometimes it’s that way. I’m not one bit disappointed with our at bats.”
Hale speaking about the last few losses: “It’s a long season. We’re not going to hang our heads about a couple losses against good teams.”
Arizona and West Virginia play the final game of their three-game series Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Hi Corbett.