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OMAHA, Neb. -- After five months of college baseball, the season will come down to one game.In the second game of Tuesday night's College World Series finals, Coastal Carolina and Arizona unfurled another pitching showdown in a 5-4 victory for the Chanticleers....

Coastal Carolina win gives CWS familiar feel

OMAHA, Neb. -- After five months of college baseball, the season will come down to one game.In the second game of Tuesday night's College World Series finals, Coastal Carolina and Arizona unfurled another pitching showdown in a 5-4 victory for the Chanticleers....

Coastal Carolina win gives CWS familiar feel

OMAHA, Neb. -- After five months of college baseball, the season will come down to one game.

In the second game of Tuesday night's College World Series finals, Coastal Carolina and Arizona unfurled another pitching showdown in a 5-4 victory for the Chanticleers. The game itself was Monday's Game 1 turned inside out.

On Monday, it was the Chanticleers who looked tight, made uncharacteristic fielding errors and failed to capitalize when runners reached base. On Tuesday, that role was played by the Wildcats, who officially left nine baserunners stranded, but in reality, the number was much higher.

On Monday, Arizona essentially won the game in the night's first frame, with a ground-rule double to build a lead it would never surrender. On Tuesday, the Wildcats once again took a 1-0 lead but only after a bizarre series that included a failed squeeze bunt with the bases load and ended with an out and nearly a caught-stealing double play.

"That was a play we had success with in the regional final against Louisiana [Lafayette]," Arizona coach Jay Johnson said. "Scoring first has been a big deal out here [in Omaha] ... and he didn't bunt at the pitch. That's what happened."

That set the tone for a night that felt like an episode of "Twilight Zone" from the onset, both on the playing field and in the grandstands.

A sea of beach balls was launched onto the grass from the left-field bleachers. The biggest cheer of the night was for "Staredown Sammy," the kid who has become an internet sensation for going high noon on an ESPN camera Saturday night. There was even an appearance from Marlins Man sitting behind home plate.

But none of that could match what happened on the field, particularly for Arizona. One of the worst-looking wild pitches in the history of baseball was unleashed by Arizona starter Kevin Ginkel, who went on to tie a CWS finals record with 10 strikeouts. That record was matched by his opponent, Coastal's usual closer, Mike Morrison.

The Wildcats recovered from that, just as they recovered from the first-inning baserunning gaffe. However, they weren't able to recover from what happened next. What looked to be a lazy fly ball broke in toward the infield and fell through three defenders to the ground in short left field with a man on third. The runner didn't score then, but he scored on the next play.

It was the moment that summed up Arizona's night: close ... in position to close out a national title ... again ... but not able to do it. The last gasp came in the eighth, when Coastal started the inning with three runs and Arizona answered with two but left two more on base.

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Coastal Carolina is celebrating more than a CWS finals appearance in Omaha. It also is celebrating AD Matt Hogue's daughter Caroline, whose life was saved 10 years ago in Nebraska.

A bench on a street corner, a flagpole across the street, the line of people still waiting to have their picture taken in front of the Road To Omaha statue -- this is how Rosenblatt lives on.

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers staved off elimination six times in the NCAA tournament to win the first national championship in school history.

"This felt epic, didn't it?" Morrison said in closing a Coastal Carolina postgame news conference that would have played well at any local comedy club -- not exactly the sign of a team scared of the moment. "It just feels crazy. Like something you read about or watch, but you never expected to be here. It feels weird but great."

What it feels like is 2008.

That's when Fresno State, an upstart squad like Coastal Carolina, lost Game 1 to Georgia in somewhat demoralizing fashion. Amid worries that they were completely out of pitchers, the Bulldogs survived a shootout in Game 2, a contest in which Georgia had multiple opportunities to finish early but didn't. Sound familiar?

Like 2008, the winner-take-all final game might set up a showdown of pitchers we thought might be long gone. That year, Fresno's Justin Wilson, now of the Detroit Tigers, gutted his way through a short-rest start to ice another future big leaguer, Gordon Beckham, and his Georgia teammates.

Although Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore wouldn't show his hand for Game 3, he said he had a card to play. That card was sent to the bullpen late Tuesday for little more than show. Ace pitcher Andrew Beckwith was never going to be used by Coastal in Game 2. He stretched in the pen but never threw a single warm-up pitch as reliever Bobby Holmes gutted through the final two innings.

It was total psychological warfare. Gilmore wanted everyone to see his burgeoning folk hero jog out to warm up. On Wednesday night, Beckwith will be on four days' rest.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't think I would have let it happen," Gilmore said of Beckwith. "We went into this knowing that the two guys that threw tonight, they had to get it done for us. And they did."

As for Arizona, ace Nathan Bannister left Friday's de facto semifinal game against Oklahoma State in the third inning because of tightness in his pitching arm, an arm that has thrown more innings than any starter in college baseball this season. Johnson, notoriously stingy with his starting pitcher announcements, never mentioned the possibility of Bannister on Tuesday, even when prodded. The player quietly slipped out of TD Ameritrade Park without comment.

The safe choice might be for Johnson to go with righty Bobby Dalbec. But cautious isn't a word usually associated with the biggest game in the lives of everyone involved.

"I'm going to try to make it not be that," Gilmore said. "If you make it bigger than life ... we've not done that through this entire thing. I keep telling them that every time we meet. It's just another baseball game."

No, it's another Game 3.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

Publish Date : 23 Şubat 2017 Perşembe 18:18

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