The Arizona Wildcats’ magical postseason run will continue right into the final game of the college baseball season as they advanced to the College World Series Final with a 5-1 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon.
Bobby Dalbec, just five days removed from a 1-0 loss to OSU, got the start on the mound against the Cowboys again. He was fantastic, pitching seven innings, scattering four hits and two walks while allowing just one run.
OSU ace Thomas Hatch on the other hand picked a bad time for his shortest outing of the year, lasting just 2+ innings in the most important start of his life.
The Arizona offense got things going right away. Cody Ramer led the bottom half of the first off with a double down the right field line, then stole third.
This allowed Zach Gibbons to drive him home with a groundout to second, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
WILDCATS ARE ON THE BOARD!!— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 25, 2016
Cody Ramer doubles and comes in on a groundout... Arizona up 1-0 in the 1st! pic.twitter.com/kkkgCPuhPo
That was the first run Hatch had given up in 26 innings, but it certainly wasn’t his last.
Ryan Aguilar followed this with a double, then advanced to third on a wild pitch while JJ Matijevic drew a walk. Jared Oliva drove home Aguilar with a sac fly to center, picking up his 6th RBI of the College World Series, the most of any player this year.
Hatch’s frustration boiled over as he forced a lineout to himself to end the inning, and spiked the ball on the mound after allowing the two runs.
But he would allow two more the very next frame. With Kyle Lewis on second after drawing a walk and a Cesar Salazar sac bunt, Louis Boyd came up and roped a double down the left field line.
Two batters later, Gibbons smacked a double of his own into the right center gap, scoring Boyd and giving Arizona a 4-0 lead.
OSU got a run back in the third. A single and double put two runners in scoring position against Dalbec with just one out in the inning. J.R. Davis hit a sac fly to score Jon Littell, but that would be all they could get out of the threat.
The lead would grow back to four in the bottom of the fourth. Boyd reached second on a throwing error. Then with two outs, Gibbons stepped up to the plate and grounded a ball through the left side, scoring Boyd as an unearned run. The announcers were talking about walking Gibbons to get to Aguilar which seems kind of crazy, but maybe OSU should have done it. It was his third RBI of the day, and his 103rd hit of the season, which is now the sixth-most in a single season in Arizona history.
Ramer would make sure that lead would stay at least four with this ridiculous grab in the fifth inning. My favorite thing about this is how he’s staring at the ball in his glove as he comes down.
After the seventh inning, Kevin Ginkel took over on the mound for Arizona. He would throw a perfect 8th and allowed a couple baserunners in the ninth while getting within one out of finishing the game. Louis Boyd's incredible play got the second out of final inning.
Alfonso Rivas struck out the final batter of the game after taking the mound from left field.
The Wildcats will now play the winner of Saturday night’s Coastal Carolina/TCU game in a best-of-three series starting on Monday night. Monday's game is scheduled to start at 4 PM PT on ESPN. TCU/CCU will play at 5 PM PT on ESPN Saturday night to determine Arizona’s next opponent.