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Arizona baseball: Bobby Dalbec’s whirlwind day is what people dream of

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Is this the best day possible for a college baseball player?

Bobby Dalbec
Jason Bartel

Is realizing your life-long dream going to make your day the best day ever?

How about pitching your team to within one game of the College World Series?

What if you did both in the same day?

Well, that’s what Bobby Dalbec did on Friday.

"Whirlwind," he described his day after Friday night’s win. "It’s been pretty wild."

Dalbec's day started off by getting drafted in the fourth round by the Boston Red Sox.

"I didn’t know what was going to happen this morning, but it ended up working out for me," he explained.

But the MLB club didn’t exactly break the news to him.

"I actually found out from Casey Bowman," Dalbec said. "He texted me. They didn’t call us. The Red Sox didn’t call me or my family, just saw it on Twitter pretty much."

"It’s pretty cool," he added about being drafted by the Red Sox. "I got to play out there for two summers, and got to do those workouts in Fenway. It’s people’s dreams to play in Fenway, so this is obviously a step closer to that."

"I think he played for the Red Sox when he was in Little League," Arizona head coach Jay Johnson added. "And there’s a lot of emotions with that. It’s strange timing with (the draft) going on with (Super Regionals) going on."

From there, Dalbec’s attention turned to getting the start in Game One of the Super Regional against Mississippi State.

"Just got ready, prepared, and kept a really narrow focus," Dalbec said of his mindset after getting drafted.

He struggled early on in the game, but still didn't allow a run to score.

"Maybe it took him a little bit to settle in and get straight," Johnson explained. "But he did. He made pitches when he needed to."

"I had a good four pitch mix going on," Dalbec added. "My slider got stronger as the game went on and my changeup was working early. Just filling up the zone and just attacking."

He got stronger, retiring 11 Bulldogs in a row from the 4th through 7th innings.

"We had all the momentum in our dugout from the fourth inning on, and it had everything to do with him on the mound," Johnson said.

Then the lights went out.

The Starkville power outage delayed the game for 37 minutes, and put Dalbec’s run that he was on in jeopardy.

But it seems like Arizona was always going to go back to him.

"I knew he would respond really well," Johnson said. "That’s who he is and that's who are team is. There was no decision. The umpires did a nice job of giving him the time he needed to prepare."

"Just stayed loose, stayed hot, did some bands in the tunnel behind the dugout," Dalbec explained of how he kept ready. "Then I went down to the bullpen to warm up again and went out there."

He hit the first batter he faced, but two nice defensive plays by Ryan Aguilar and Cody Ramer kept MSU from getting a runner into scoring position. A strikeout ended that first inning after the delay.

Dalbec recorded two outs in the ninth, but after a couple of singles paired together, Johnson went with Cameron Ming to end the game and put Arizona within one win of Omaha.

"I don’t know if it was easy," Johnson said of that decision. "Cameron’s makeup is really strong, and the two guys that we handed the ball to tonight have that."

Ming’s strikeout gave Dalbec the win, closing the book on a performance of 8 2/3 innings of five hit baseball.

"That kid’s a stud," JJ Matijevic said of Dalbec after the game. "When he goes on the mound, we have a ton of confidence in him, and tonight’s performance is definitely up there."

"I'm just really proud of him with what he’s been going through. He stepped up big time for us."

"Great job by Bobby tonight," Ming added. "He was in some tough situations throughout the ballgame and he worked through ‘em. It was a great performance to watch."

A great performance to watch, and probably the greatest day in the life of Bobby Dalbec.