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College World Series: Arizona baseball defeats UCLA 4-0 behind growing Wade


The Arizona baseball team still hasn't had a hiccup in the postseason, and the Wildcats moved to 2-0 in the College World Series with a 4-0 victory against the Pac-12 regular season co-champion UCLA Bruins.

Konner Wade went the distance on Sunday in Omaha, and the story was one of redemption for the Wildcats' No. 2 pitcher. Wade gave up just five hits and regrouped after giving up nine hits in three innings during his last meeting against the Bruins.

More impressive than a game-to-game improvement was Wade's growth through the entire season, according to coach Andy Lopez.

Asked by ESPN's Jessica Mendoza about Wade's performance, Lopez beamed with sarcasm.

"Horrible," he joked. "No, obviously he's pretty special. That was a thing I talked to him out there (after the game).

"He went through such a tough time a few weeks before the season started. It's about this much further from a miracle," Lopez added, holding his index finger and thumb an centimeter from one another.

Wade put the ball over the plate often, but his movement and control baffled UCLA's hitters through his 109 pitches.

And UA needed Wade's shut-out against a No. 2 seeded squad that leaned upon its own defensive strengths. Though the Wildcats only recorded six hits, an anomaly of a four-hit fourth inning was all Arizona needed to take the victory and move to 2-0 in the CWS.

With one out, Johnny Field, Alex Mejia and Robert Refsnyder had three consecutive singles to load the bases in the bottom of the fourth. Seth Mejias-Brean knocked in a two-RBI single thereafter, and a Bobby Brown double at the next at-bat gave Arizona the 4-0 edge it would hold until the final out.

Staying undefeated means more than simply saying the Wildcats have yet to show flashes of weakness.

It moves UA's next contest to Thursday, when ace Kurt Heyer will be fresh after taking six days off from his last outing. With a pitching staff that appears to be reliant upon Heyer and Wade to go the distance when needed, that makes Arizona's undefeated postseason all the better moving forward.

The bullpen has yet to be tested. Heyer and Wade both appear as confident as ever. Momentum won't be pulled out from under Arizona if they're getting so much rest thanks to staying out of a losing bracket.

On Thursday, Lopez's squad will face the winner of a UCLA and Florida State matchup after the Seminoles -- who were sent to the loser's bracket courtesy of Arizona -- defeated Stony Brook on Sunday. Either team would need to defeat the Wildcats two games in a row to advance.

So the perfect storm of the season that I talked about after the Super Regionals rolls on, at least for the time being.

The Bruins were the more talented team coming into Sunday, and so were the Seminoles in the Wildcats' opening CWS ballgame. But like any of sports' best postseason formats, the College World Series isn't about favorites or levels of talent matching up against one another.

"There's just a will to win that I haven't seen at any other team," Wade told Mendoza after the game.

Arizona is still running on that will.

Is anyone going to slow the Wildcats down?