The two teams will meet again on Saturday at noon PT to decide who goes to the College World Series final.
The Wildcats took control of the game early against the vaunted OSU pitching staff.
They got out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a JJ Matijevic single through the left side which brought home Zach Gibbons. It put OSU behind in a game for the first time since May 27th.
The Wildcats kept adding to that lead in the second. Cesar Salazar hit a one-out double. Louis Boyd followed it with a double of his own over the left fielder’s head to make the score 2-0.
Boyd moved to third on a groundout by Cody Ramer, and was brought the final 90 feet home by a Gibbons single.
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Controversy returned to the Arizona pitching situation in the third. With two out in the inning, Nathan Bannister was visited by the coaching staff and trainer on the mound. After throwing a couple of warmup pitches, he was taken from the game. He was seen going to his elbow/forearm area is he headed to the dugout for a line of hugs. After the game, he said he felt forearm tightness six pitches before the moment he was pulled from the game.
Kevin Ginkel came on, and ended the third, but gave up a couple of runs in the 4th as he struggled with command.
Arizona had pushed it to a 4-0 lead before that run though. In typical Wildcats fashion, a couple of walks and a couple of fly balls led to the run scored.
Ginkel’s lack of command forced the Arizona staff to go to Cameron Ming, who had been used as the team’s closer in the postseason.
He ended up closing this game out too.
After Ming retired the first nine batters he faced, Arizona came up to bat in the top of the 8th.
A walk, single, and interesting hit by pitch call on Boyd as he was attempting to bunt loaded the bases with one out.
Ramer struck out on a check swing. Gibbons then grounded to second to likely end the threat. But the second baseman threw the ball up the line, pulling the first baseman off the bag, allowing Gibbons to reach safely and a run to score.
Aguilar followed that with a single through the left side, pushing the lead to 6-2 and scoring another unearned run.
After an OSU pitching change, Bobby Dalbec flew out to center to end the threat.
The Wildcats continued to add to the lead in the ninth. Matijevic took a low pitch for a ride down the right field line to open the frame with a double. Then a missed call by the first base umpire on a Justin Behnke bunt put runners on the corners.
Jared Oliva continued to rack up the postseason RBI with a single to drive home Matijevic and make the score 7-2.
Another run scored on another OSU error at first base, as Salazar was able to reach. The second baseman was covering the bag and just let the ball go right by his glove, through his legs and into right field.
A ninth run came across the plate on a Ramer sac fly. To put Arizona’s production into perspective, OSU had only allowed six runs in their first seven NCAA Tournament games combined.
It looked like Arizona had a 9-2 win wrapped up, but Behnke made an error in left on a ball that would have ended things. OSU drew a walk and dropped a double down the left field line to make the final score 9-3.
Ming continues to be Arizona's MVP of the postseason. He ended up throwing five innings, and has still pitched in every CWS game for the Cats. He only allowed one baserunner before the Behnke error, striking out two on 79 pitches.
Oklahoma State will throw ace Thomas Hatch against Arizona on Saturday. The Wildcats have yet to decide on a pitcher, but the most likely choice is probably Dalbec. Saturday’s game is scheduled to be played at noon PT.