College World Series: Arizona bullpen falters; Coastal Carolina forces decisive Game 3
The Arizona bullpen struggled, and a big eighth inning from Coastal Carolina gave the Chanticleers a 5-4 win Tuesday night in Omaha and forced a decisive Game 3 in the College World Series Championships Series.
The game began as well as Arizona could have hoped, as the 'Cats stayed true to form and got on the board early.
Cody Ramer and Zach Gibbons led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles, and a one-out walk to Ryan Aguilar loaded the bases for Bobby Dalbec. It looked like it would be a big inning for the Wildcats, but a botched squeeze play got Ramer picked off at third for the second out.
Dalbec did salvage the inning a bit for Arizona, smoking a ball to third that bounced off the glove of Coastal Carolina's Zach Remillard, scoring Gibbons and giving the Wildcats their eighth first-inning run of the tournament.
But the Chanticleers took advantage of another 'Cats miscue in the top of the third. Billy Cooke led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a sac bunt.
CCU's David Parrett hit a pop-up that looked routine, but Louis Boyd couldn't handle it, and Parrett's hustle got him to second on the play. Anthony Marks made Arizona pay, knocking in both runners with an RBI single up the middle and giving Coastal Carolina its first lead of the series.
Coastal Carolina starter Mike Morrison kept the the Wildcats' bats in check, but they managed to scratch a run across in the fifth. Ramer walked, Gibbons singled, and Aguilar's fielder's choice tied the game at two.
That would be all Arizona would get from Morrison, as he was outstanding, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs and two walks, while striking out a career-high ten. Kevin Ginkel matched Morrison K-for-K, also striking out ten in his seven innings of work. It was the first time in the last 30 years where both starting pitchers in a CWS game each had ten K's.
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) June 29, 2016
Things fell apart for the Wildcats, however, in the top of the eighth inning. Cameron Ming came in from the bullpen and gave up a base hit to Marks. One out later, a bloop single from Connor Owings gave the Chanticleers a 3-2 lead.
Coastal Carolina broke it open with back-to-back hits from Zach Remillard (double) and G.K. Young (single). Just like that, it was 5-2.
The 'Cats wouldn't go down without a fight. Aguilar led off the bottom of the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch from Bobby Holmes. Walks to Dalbec and Cesar Salazar loaded the bases for Arizona, and a fielder's choice from Justin Behnke and an error on Coastal Carolina shortstop Michael Paez on back-to-back plays brought in two runs to pull U of A within one.
But Holmes settled in for a 1-2-3 ninth inning, and the series evened up at one game apiece.
The winner-take-all third game can be seen on ESPN at 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT on Wednesday night. It'll be the 17th game of the 2016 College World Series, the most games ever played in a single baseball championship tournament.