OMAHA, Neb. – Arizona’s bid for a fifth national championship will have to wait another day.
Coastal Carolina (54-18) broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run eighth inning, then held on for a 5-4 victory Tuesday night in the second game of a the College World Series finals here at TD Ameritrade Park. The teams now play again Wednesday night at 7 p.m. (CST) with the winner taking home the championship.
Arizona (49-23) starter Kevin Ginkel struck out 10 and tossed seven strong innings, allowing two runs – with only one earned – before turning the game over to the bullpen. That was when the Chanticleers wrestled away the largest lead against the Wildcats at the College World Series.
Lefty Cameron Ming took over for Ginkel in the eighth, but Anthony Marks opened the frame with a single. After a sacrifice bunt, Connor Owings gave CCU the lead with an RBI single. Zach Remillard followed with a double, leaving two in scoring position.
Facing reliever Alfonso Rivas, G.K. Young drove in both runners with a single to extend the Chanticleers’ advantage to 5-2.
The breakthrough for Coastal Carolina came in the middle of the order, which earlier struggled against Ginkel. UA’s starter held the number two through six hitters to an 0-for-15 clip with seven strikeouts, but that group broke out in the decisive eighth.
The number two hitter, Michael Paez, had a sacrifice bunt, which was followed by Owings’ single, Remillard’s double, Young’s single and Tyler Chadwick’s base hit.
The Wildcats answered back in the home half of the eighth.
Ryan Aguilar singled and Bobby Dalbec drew a walk against Bobby Holmes, who earlier relieved starter Mike Morrison. Holmes also walked Caesar Salazar to load the bases with no outs, but bounced back to induce an infield fly to Jared Oliva.
Justin Behnke drove in a run with a fielder’s choice groundout, leaving runners at the corners. Louis Boyd then reached on an error, allowing Dalbec to score and move Behnke to second representing the tying run. However, Cody Ramer flew out to end the inning.
Holmes returned to the mound in the ninth inning, retiring the Wildcats in order. He picked up the win, improving to 7-2 for 2.1 innings of work in which he allowed two runs – one earned – on two hits and a pair of walks.
Morrison did not factor into the decision, but was strong after surrendering an early run. He struck out a career-high 10 in his first start of the year, lasting 6.2 innings with six hits and a pair of walks allowed.
Arizona opened the scoring with a two-out single by Bobby Dalbec in the first inning.
The Chanticleers rallied to take their first lead of the game in the third, benefitting from a defensive miscue. Billy Cooke led off with a single, then moved to second on Ginkel’s wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt pushed Cooke to third, and David Parrett reached on a two-base error when Boyd, the shortstop play in, was unable to retreat and haul in a popup to shallow left field.
With runners at second and third, Marks, who was 3-for-4, singled home two runs for a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats tied the game in the fifth. Ramer walked and Gibbons singled to leave the seniors on the corners. A fielder’s choice groundout by Aguilar knotted the game, 2-2.
Ming, who has been invaluable as Arizona’s closer throughout the postseason, suffered the loss for allowing three runs on three hits in one-third of an inning.
Righty Cody Deason saw his first action of the College World Series, pitching 1.1 innings to close out the game for the Wildcats.
Arizona had no shortage of opportunities throughout the game against Morrison and Holmes, but struggled to deliver the timely hits. The Wildcats were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while the Chanticleers picked up four hits in seven such at-bats.