June 24, 2012
OMAHA, Neb.--Konner Wade took care of business on the mound and the Wildcats gave him solid run support in moving Arizona (47-17) to within one game of its fourth NCAA title with a 5-1 victory Sunday night over South Carolina in game one of the best-of-three College World Series Championship Series.
A crowd of 24,748 saw Wade (11-3) throw his second complete game of the College World Series, allowing six hits, striking out three and walking one. He was efficient, as was UA's defense, as the Gamecocks (49-19) left only five runners on base. The Cats, who stranded 11 runners, came up with timely hits and took advantage of an early mistake.
Robert Refsnyder drove in all the runs UA needed with a two-run home run in the first, and was joined with two hits or more by a trio of Cats. Freshman catcher Riley Moorehad three. The Cats knocked out 12 hits, their third double-digit performance at the plate in the Series.
Wade's pair of complete games were the first in a College World Series since Jason Windsor of Cal State Fullerton accomplished the feat in 2004. Arizona has won 10 consecutive games.
The two teams square off again in TD Ameritrade Park at 7 p.m. Monday (CDT), with Arizona needing one victory to secure a national championship to go with its trio of titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986. Game 3 of the Championship Series, if necessary, is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Wade's effort Sunday against the two-time defending NCAA Champion Gamecocks was part four of the Wildcats' starting pitching success in Omaha. He and top starter Kurt Heyerhave combined to throw 33 innings in the Cats' four games in Omaha.
Joey Pankake reached on an error by UA third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean to open the game. A good play in the hole up the middle by diving shortstop Alex Mejia stabbed a ground ball by Evan Marzilli, flipping it to Trent Gilbertto force Pankake at second and start a double play. Christian Walker struck out to end the frame.
Johnny Fieldhit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and after a sacrifice bunt by Mejia, Refsnyder smacked a two-strike home run into the right-field bullpen to make it 2-0. It was his team-best eighth of the year and CWS-high two in Omaha.
The Cats added to their lead in the third. Gilbert reached on an error by Pankake and Joey Rickardfollowed with a single through the left side. Mejia singled to left for the RBI, unearned, and reached second on a throw to third too late to catch Rickard, to put two in scoring position. Gamecocks pitcher Forrest Koumas (2-3) walked Refsnyder intentionally to load the bases, and bring on reliever Evan Beal.USC turned a double play off a grounder to Pankake by Mejias-Brean to get out the jam.
Koumas, who hadn't pitched in the postseason since last year and was getting his fourth 2012 start, allowed three runs, two earned, and struck out three, walking one in lasting two and one-third innings.
UA picked up another run in the fifth. Field drew a walk, then advanced to third on a wild pitch that catcher Grayson Greiner threw past the bag into center trying to nab him at second. Mejia grounded to short, but Field had to hold, and then Refsnyder was walked intentionally to put runners at the corners. Mejias-Brean singled to center to plate the run and make it 4-0, also an unearned run.
The Gamecocks put a run on the board in the sixth. Greiner doubled to left-center to open the inning and with two-outs scored on a single up the middle to snap Wade's scoreless inning streak in Omaha at 14 and two-thirds innings. He walked the next batter, Christian Walker, to put the tying run at the plate, but LB Dantzler grounded to first to strand two.
Arizona had hits by Riley Mooreand Rickard in the bottom of the inning, but ended up stranding a fifth runner in scoring position to that point.
Right fielder Refsnyder threw out Adam Matthews at third trying to reach the corner on a single by Kyle Martin. Mejia made a tough play in the hole on a ground ball by Tanner English and Greiner flied to left to thwart a potential USC rally in the seventh.
Refsnyder singled with one out in the UA half of the inning, moved up on an infield chopper, and then beat a throw to the plate on an RBI single by Brown, making it 5-1 Cats and complete the scoring
The Cats left three on base in the eighth after a hit by Moore, a walk and a single by Field, but Refsnyder struck out swinging.
UA's bullpen, inactive all night, got some movement in the ninth. Walker singled to left field to lead off, but Wade got Dantzler to fly out to deep right-center, a groundball out and the final out on a charging foul-pop catch behind the plate by third baseman Mejias-Brean.
ARIZONA CWS NOTES...
--Arizona's 47 victories this year tie the 1985 Jerry Kindall CWS squad (47-22) for No. 4 on Arizona's single-season victories chart.
--The Cats' four victories in Omaha make it the No. 7 school all-time in CWS victories with 37.
--All five of Arizona's runs against South Carolina came with two outs -- an obvious situational hitting scenario coached daily by UA's staff toward the close of batting practice.
-Arizona's five runs were the most the Gamecocks had given up in the postseason, spanning 11 games.
--Konner Wade threw a complete-game shutout against UCLA and five and two-thirds innings against USC before allowing a run in Omaha (sixth inning, two outs). The next play, a walk, snapped his walk-free string of innings in NCAA play at 31 frames.
--Johnny Field's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 15 games, and he reached base for the 28th consecutive contest.
--Arizona collected double-digit hits for the eighth time in nine postseason games.
--The Wildcats' 12 hits gave it the national Division I lead for 2012, passing Stony Brook (743) by accumulating 749.
--South Carolina had won nine of its last 10 games entering the championship series, while UA had done the same but had won nine straight -- now 10.
--Leadoff batter Joey Rickardrecorded his seventh multiple-hit game in nine NCAA contests this year.
--Arizona scored first in each of its four CWS games this year. UA has a 13-3 edge in first-inning run scoring in its nine games in NCAA action. In Omaha, UA has an 8-0 first-inning edge in four games.
--The Cats' two-run first inning gave it multiple-run innings 20 times in the postseason this year.
--Robert Refsnyder has reached base safely in 38 consecutive games. His home run in the first made him the 2012 CWS homer leader with a modest two, with eight others hitting one.
--Arizona has had an extra-base hit in 63 of its 64 games in 2012. The lone contest without one was a March 16 game against Washington State in Tucson, a 6-0 loss.
--Riley Moore has been on base all CWS games, thanks to seven hits in Omaha. He also collected his second three-hit game of the Series and third of the postseason.
--The Cats drew five bases on balls, giving them 16 free bases in the CWS.
--Arizona is 16-3 when it hit a home run this season.