It’s been a struggle this year for Jared Oliva. Entering the College World Series, the Arizona Wildcats outfielder was hitting just .236, and had a lowly on-base percentage of .284.
But that didn’t matter when he was presented with a big opportunity in his very first at bat in Omaha.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Oliva roped a 1-1 pitch by Michael Mediavilla down the right field line, scoring two runs.
"It was huge," Arizona head coach Jay Johnson said of the hit. "We try to stay a pitch at a time, an inning at a time, and the reality of it is it’s a little bit easier to do that when you’re playing with a lead."
That gave Arizona and Nathan Bannister an early 3-0 lead, which wound up being more than enough in a 5-1 win over Miami on Saturday.
It was also Oliva's first multi-RBI game since April 4th at BYU.
"We made a decision to get him back in there because he’s a guy who can win the game by himself," Johnson explained of even having Oliva in the lineup. "He’s not as good of player as he’s gonna be, but he’s really helped us here over the last three or four weeks."
"I think we all know our job. We had a gameplan coming in, it’s just a matter of executing it," Oliva said after the game. "It was just a matter of who could execute better and who could win the pitches and I thought we did that in the first inning. We kind of got to (Mediavilla)."
Arizona’s patience paid off in that first inning, drawing two walks on top of having two guys get hit by pitches resulting in those three early runs and setting up Oliva’s at bat.
"It’s just about not chasing balls, chasing his pitches," Oliva continued. "It’s about getting our pitches, something we can get a good barrel on."
"I mean it’s that simple I guess you could say."