In a battle of aces, it was the Arizona Wildcats and Nathan Bannister that came out on top of the Miami Hurricanes and Michael Mediavilla by a score of 5-1 in their first game of the College World Series.
The Arizona senior tossed seven innings of one-run ball, tying his career high of 11 strikeouts, while scattering eight hits and three walks. He used 118 pitches to get those 21 outs.
Bannister was able to locate his pitches on the corners, allowing him to pick up crucial strikeouts, stranding ten Miami runners along the way.
After that, Cameron Ming, in his newfound closer role in the postseason, put the Hurricanes out of their misery in the final two innings.
The Wildcats were in control of the game right from the start.
Mediavilla was missing his spots by a ton early on, which really hurt Miami. Two hit batters and a walk loaded the bases for Kyle Lewis.
Lewis drew a four-pitch walk to give Arizona the early 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats crack the scoreboard!— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 19, 2016
2 walks, 2 HBP and a 2-run base knock make it 3-0 Arizona in the 1st. #CWS pic.twitter.com/syoqDB0t25
Jared Oliva extended that lead with a nice two-run opposite field single. However, Lewis tried to score from first on the hit for some reason, and was thrown out at home by a ton for the third out, but not before the Wildcats put up a three-spot in the first.
Miami finally got on the board in the fourth. The Canes loaded the bases with just one out thanks to a leadoff double, walk and single.
Christopher Barr then dropped a single just in front of Zach Gibbons to drive in the run. The baserunning was funky on the play, and Gibbons could have picked up the force out at third, but the throw was cut off, keeping the bases loaded.
Bannister recovered though, using his nasty breaking ball to strike out Edgar Michelangeli looking (one of three Ks on the night for him), then force a groundout to short to end the inning and keep it a 3-1 Arizona lead.
Arizona wasn’t satisfied with just a two-run lead though. In the next inning, a Louis Boyd double and Cody Ramer single put runners on the corners for Gibbons.
On a high fastball, Gibbons smacked a double down the left field line, scoring two runs. He was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple though.
That really hurt when Ryan Aguilar followed with a single. He would eventually be stranded on second.
It didn’t come back to bite them though, as Bannister and Ming totally shut down the vaunted Miami offense all night. The Canes did manage nine hits compared to Arizona's seven. That drops Miami to 36-2 this year when out-hitting the other team. The Wildcats went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position, while Miami managed just two hits in ten such chances.
The Wildcats now advance to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Monday evening in a winners' bracket game. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 4 PM PT and will be broadcast on ESPN. Miami will meet UC-Santa Barbara in an elimination game on Monday at 11 AM PT on ESPNU.