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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball wins 5-1, one win away from national championship

The Arizona baseball team took all the momentum of an undefeated postseason into Game 1 of the College World Series final against two-time defending champion South Carolina, and did not disappoint, beating the Gamecocks 5-1.

Konner Wade started the game for the Wildcats, but Arizona’s offense started early, with an opposite-field homer by right fielder Robert Refsnyder, his second of the CWS and team-leading eighth of the season over the right field wall, bringing home Johnny Field and putting the Wildcats on top early, 2-0.

Wade continued his current hot streak of performances early, pitching a perfect game through two innings before giving up his first hit to the Gamecocks in the third inning, a single to leadoff man Tanner English.

In the bottom of the third, Arizona bought themselves some more breathing room, adding a run via an Alex Mejia RBI single, which scored Trent Gilbert, who made it on base from South Carolina’s second error of the game by shortstop Joey Pankake.

The fifth inning was another good one for Wade and the Wildcats, as Wade had still allowed just one hit and had retired 14 of the 16 batters he had faced, with three strikeouts and five groundouts.

In the bottom of the fifth, Field advanced to second base after his walk on a wild pitch, and was later scored by a Seth Mejias-Brean RBI single with two out, putting the Arizona lead at 4-0.

Wade had his longest inning of the evening in the sixth, when he allowed two South Carolina hits and his first walk in the 31 previous innings. He also allowed the Gamecocks to score, giving up his first run of the CWS to catcher Grayson Greinier on an Evan Marzilli single up the middle.

Arizona padded its lead in the bottom of the seventh with a Bobby Brown single to right field, which scored Robert Refsnyder. In five plate appearances, Refsnyder was intentionally walked twice, had a two run home run, a single, and one strikeout.

Wade cruised through the eighth inning, retiring every batter in order for the fourth time in the game. He threw his 100th pitch in the eighth, and had thrown 67 strikes at the time.

For the second time in the game, Arizona loaded the bases, and for the second time, could not score a run, as Refsnyder struck out to end the eighth. The strikeout marked the first time all game Refsnyder was not able to reach base.

In the ninth, Wade allowed his sixth hit of the game to leadoff man Christian Walker, but did not let another South Carolina player on base, ending the game with a high Kyle Martin pop out.

The Wildcats, now one game away from a College World Series title, will play the next game of the best-of-three series Monday at 7 p.m. CDT.

***

Arizona added to its lead in the seventh from a Bobby Brown RBI single to right field, which scored Robert Refsnyder who now has two hits in two at bats and has been intentionally walked, following his first inning home run.

Wade retired every batter in the eighth inning for the fourth time in the game, after giving up another two hits to the Gamecocks in the seventh, but not allowing them a run. Through eight, Wade has thrown exactly 100 pitches, 67 of which have gone for strikes. He also has just one walk and three strikeouts. The Gamecocks have five hits.

Arizona loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth for the second time in the game, but a Refsnyder strikeout ended the inning. It was the first time Refsnyder did not reach base all game. Prior to the strikeout, Refsnyder had been intentionally walked twice and had hit a home run and a single.

5-1 Arizona in the top of the ninth.

***

The Wildcats added to their lead in the fifth inning, via a Seth Mejias-Brean RBI single, scoring Johnny Field, making it 4-0 Arizona.

Wade again retired the Gamecocks in order in the fifth, and held them to just one hit through five. In the sixth however, Wade had his longest outing of the game, in which he gave up a leadoff double and an RBI single to Evan Marzilli, putting one Gamecock run on the board. That run was the first Wade has given up since giving up four to St. John’s in the Tucson super regional.

Wade also walked his first batter in 31 innings, putting first baseman Christian Walker on base before an LB Dantzler groundout to first base ended the sixth.

The Wildcats wasted another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth, when with two on, Johnny FIeld grounded out to Pankake, ending the sixth.

4-1 Arizona in the top of the seventh.

***

South Carolina got their first hit of the game off of Wade in the third, a Tanner English single. After moving to second on a groundout by second baseman Chase Vergason, Wade forced Joey Pankake to pop out, ending the inning and stranding English on second.

Arizona however, was able to get two more hits including a Alex Mejia RBI single that scored Trent Gilbert and extended the lead to 3-0. Refsnyder was walked, loading the bases with one out, but a Seth Mejias-Brean ground ball induced an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

Through four, Wade has given up just one hit and has now retired 11 of the 13 batters he’s faced. He’s tossed 48 pitches, 35 of which went for strikes.

The ‘Cats bats were able to get something going, putting runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, but a Trent Gilbert ground ball stranded both runners on the bases via a double play started by South Carolina shortstop Joey Pankake.

3-0 Arizona after four innings.

***

Arizona’s bats are back at it after two. With 2 out and Johnny Field at second, Wildcats right fielder Robert Refsnyder sent a Forrest Koumas pitch the opposite way into the South Carolina bullpen, putting the Wildcats on top early, 2-0.

Through two, Arizona starter Konner Wade has struck out two and is pitching a perfect game.

In the second, both South Carolina and Arizona were retired in order. Brown, Maggi and Moore all went down on strikeouts for the Wildcats.

2-0 Arizona after two innings.

***

Arizona’s lineup for Game 1 of the CWS final:

1. CF Joey Rickard
2. LF Johnny Field
3. SS Alex Mejia
4. RF Robert Refsnyder
5. 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
6. DH Bobby Brown
7. 1B Joseph Maggi
8. C Riley Moore
9. 2B Trent Gilbert

P: Konner Wade (4.17 ERA, 10-3)

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