The end of the college baseball season will have to wait another day.
On Tuesday night, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers took down the Arizona Wildcats by a score of 5-4, setting up a winner-take-all Game Three on Wednesday night. It is the first time ever that all the if necessary games will be played at a CWS.
With a National Championship on the line, the Wildcats turned to flamethrower Kevin Ginkel to take the ball.
He didn’t disappoint, going seven innings, scattering just five hits and did not walk a Chanticleer.
Coastal Carolina started Mike Morrison, who had been their closer all year. He ended up throwing a career-high 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday.
He also notched a career-high ten strikeouts.
In fact, he and Ginkel both struck out ten batters, which is far from common.
This is the first CWS game in the past 30 years where both pitchers struck out 10+ batters. pic.twitter.com/RRUS73FXTN— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) June 29, 2016
The two pitchers battled to a 2-2 draw through the first seven innings of this game.
After Ginkel was taken out, Cameron Ming, who had thrown ten innings of one-run baseball in Omaha, came in and was struggling from the get-go. He gave up a leadoff single to Anthony Marks, and then Marks moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.
That brought up three-hole hitter Connor Owings, who blooped one into short left to give Coastal the late 3-2 lead.
Zach Remillard followed that with a double, which chased Ming and brought Alfonso Rivas into a 3-2 game with two runners in scoring position.
Rivas immediately gave up a two-run single to G.K. Young, allowing Coastal to take a 5-2 lead. Another single would bring Cody Deason to the mound.
In the bottom of the eighth, Arizona loaded the bases with no outs.
They would get two runs on a groundout followed by this error:
That made it a 5-4 game. Cody Ramer flew out to left to end the threat.
A scoreless top of the ninth set up Arizona’s heart of the lineup for the bottom of the ninth. But they were retired in order by CCU reliever Bobby Holmes to end the game.
In typical Arizona fashion, Ramer and Zach Gibbons led the game off with singles.
Then the Jay Johnson criticism started coming in fast and furious. With three-hole hitter JJ Matijevic up, who is not a typical three-hole hitter for what it’s worth, was asked to bunt, even with two strikes. Matijevic pushed that final bunt attempt foul, resulting in a strikeout for the first out of the frame.
Ryan Aguilar drew a walk to load the bases for Bobby Dalbec.
All year in spots like that, Arizona has attempted to score two runs on a squeeze play. It happened again, but Dalbec got a pitch low and away that he could not get down.
This ended up in Ramer being picked off at third, and Gibbons was almost picked off at second.
But he wasn’t, and Dalbec’s at bat continued. He eventually roped one at the third baseman, scoring Gibbons from second and giving Arizona the 1-0 advantage.
Dalbec DELIVERS!— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 29, 2016
After a failed squeeze, Bobby Dalbec smashes an RBI single through CCU's 3B... Arizona leads 1-0. pic.twitter.com/5rL1GJW4La
The Chanticleers would respond with their first runs of the Final in the top of the third. Billy Cooke picked up the first CCU hit of the game with a single to left center.
Cooke would advance to second when Ginkel slipped on the rubber, letting a pitch go ten feet behind the batter. Cooke then moved to third on a sac bunt.
This brought nine-hole hitter David Parrett to the dish. After showing squeeze play, Arizona’s infield was playing him in. He then skied a Ginkel pitch into extremely shallow left field on a 2-2 count.
The ball hung in the air for what seemed like hours, and it eventually fell to the ground as Louis Boyd failed to get a glove on it.
Parrett made it to second on the play, and Cooke remained at third with Anthony Marks strolling to the plate.
Marks wasted no time, squaring up a 2-0 pitch through the middle, bringing home the two runs and giving CCU a 2-1 lead.
Arizona had a chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the fourth. They were able to get two runners into scoring position with just one out. But consecutive strikeouts by Justin Behnke and Boyd ended the threat, allowing the Chanticleers to cling to the one-run lead.
They would at least erase the deficit in the fifth. Once again, Ramer and Gibbons started the inning by getting on the corners without an out. Matijevic struck out on a nasty curveball, but Aguilar grounded a fielder’s choice up the middle to score Ramer and tie the game at the time.
On Wednesday night, CCU is expected to start their ace pitcher Andrew Beckwith. I would expect Arizona to counter with Bobby Dalbec. That game is scheduled for 5 PM PT on ESPN.