Congrats to the University of Arizona for winning their 4th National Championship with a nail-biting 4-1 win over two-time defending champion South Carolina on Monday night. This game featured one of the best pitching matchups you’ll see at the college ranks, pitting South Carolina ace Michael Roth, a 9th round pick by the Angels in 2012 and the all-time leader in College World Series starts and innings pitched, against Arizona sophomore James Farris. Both were exceptional. Roth went 6.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1 while Farris tossed 7.2 one-run frames allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4.
The Arizona Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the third inning against Roth on an RBI ground out by freshman Trent Gilbert before the South Carolina Gamecocks finally mustered something in the 7th against Farris, scoring on a Kyle Martin (35th round, CHW) RBI groundout. The game was tied 1-1 heading to the top of the 9th as the Wildcats went up against Gamecocks elite closer Matt Price (7th, BAL), with 41 college saves to his credit and a 0.34 ERA in the College World Series. Robert Refsnyder (5th, NYY), who was clutch for Arizona all season, began the frame with a single. Seth Mejias-Brean (5th, CIN) followed with a big 2-strike sacrifice bunt to move the go-ahead run to second base. Bobby Brown was then intentionally walked to bring up freshman Brandon Dixon, making just his second plate appearance of the NCAA tournament, his first coming earlier in the game, after entering as a defensive replacement. And in the biggest at-bat of his life, Dixon came through, drilling a 2-run single to score Refsnyder as Refsnyder crossed the plate and leaped in the air as the Wildcats had regained the lead. Tyler Webb came on to replace Price after a tough night in his final college appearance. Webb got a strikeout but then the freshman Gilbert came up huge again for Arizona, drilling an opposite-field 2-run single to right field to score 2 and give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead. But the grizzled veterans of South Carolina have been through it all and they were not going to go down without a fight.
Freshman right-hander Mathew Troupe was on for the Wildcats as the pressure of delivering Arizona to the championship rested squarely on his shoulders. The inning did not get off to a good start for him as Christian Walker (4th, BAL) lined a single to begin the inning. L.B. Dantzler then drew a walk and suddenly the tying run was at the plate with no out out. Troupe got Adam Matthew (29th, CIN) swinging, but then walked Kyle Martin to bring up to bring up freshman outfielder Tanner English with the tying run on base. English drilled a line drive towards right-center, but it was gloved by the second baseman Gilbert who dived into second base to nearly double off Dantzler for the a game-ending unassisted double play. But Dantzler got back just in time and the Gamecock’s last hope was freshman Grayson Greiner, the only South Carolina player to hit a grand slam all season. But Greiner flied out to Refsnyder in right field as the Wildcats dethroned the Gamecocks and emerged as the national champions of college baseball. It was an exhilarating end to an incredible college season and the exploits of these players will not be ignored as they progress with their baseball careers, whether collegiately or as professionals. What a finish it was, and congratulations to the University of Arizona and every team who participated in the College World Series.