OMAHA, Neb. - The Arizona Wildcats scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks, 4-1 Monday night in game two of the best-of-3 College World Series Championship Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The hard-fought win in front of an announced attendance of 23,872 gave Arizona a sweep of the championship series and ended South Carolina’s hopes of a third-straight title.
Robert Refsnyder started the ninth inning rally for the Wildcats by chopping a leadoff single to left off Carolina reliever Matt Price. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk, Brandon Dixon doubled down the left field line, putting Arizona on top 2-1. Trent Gilbert capped the uprising with a key two-out, two-run single off Tyler Webb for a 4-1 Wildcat advantage.
The Gamecocks did not go down without a fight in the ninth. Christian Walker singled and LB Dantzler walked to start the frame. After Adam Matthews struck out, Kyle Martin walked to load the bases. Tanner English lined to second for the second out and Grayson Greiner flied to right to end the contest.
For the second straight night, Arizona struck first. Joseph Maggi led off the third inning with a double past the third base bag, snapping Michael Roth’s string of consecutive batters retired at 28, dating back to Thursday’s win over Kent State. Maggi was sacrificed to third and scored on Gilbert’s ground out, putting the Wildcats on top 1-0.
Arizona (48-18) had an opportunity to add an insurance run in the seventh. Alex Mejia singled to center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Seth Mejias-Brean was walked intentionally before Bobby Brown grounded into a fielder’s choice, leaving runners at the corners with two outs and ending Roth’s night. Price relieved Roth and got Dixon to foul out to end the threat.
Roth, making his final pitching appearance as a Gamecock, allowed just three hits and one run with one intentional walk and three strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. He threw 85 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Arizona starter James Farris matched Roth out-for-out, keeping the Gamecocks off balance and off the scoreboard for most of the night. Through the first six innings, Carolina had just two baserunners, a first inning two-out walk by Walker and a fourth inning two-out single by Dantzler.
But the Gamecocks (49-20) finally came up with the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh. Walker led off the inning with a walk, his second of the game and record-tying eighth in this CWS. After Dantzler popped out, Matthews executed a perfect hit-and-run single to right, advancing Walker to third. Martin’s groundout plated Walker to even the score at 1-1.
Arizona threatened again in the eighth. Gilbert stroked a one-out single to left. After Joey Rickard struck out, Johnny Field grounded to third. Dantzler threw a one-hopper that Walker was unable to scoop and when the ball got away, Gilbert went to third. However Price was able to get Alex Mejia, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, to line out to center to end the inning.
Carolina also had a chance to tally in the bottom of the eighth. Greiner was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning but was thrown out at second on Chase Veragson’s bunt attempt. Vergason swiped second and continued on to third when the throw sailed into centerfield as Evan Marzilli fanned for the second out, the final batter Farris would face. Joey Pankake was called out on strikes to end the threat.
Farris worked 7.2 innings, allowing just two hits and one run with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 95 pitches. Mathew Troupe (6-1) worked the final 1.1 innings for the win. Price (5-5) was tagged with the loss.
Arizona had seven hits and left six runners on base. Carolina had just three hits, all singles, and left seven runners stranded.
Roth ends his stellar career with three CWS records including career starts (8), career innings pitched (60.1) and career hit batsmen (7). Matt Price tied the record for career appearances in the CWS with 13. Christian Walker tied a single season CWS record with eight walks and tied career marks with 73 at-bats and 28 hits.
Gamecock fans are encouraged to welcome the team at Carolina Stadium when it returns to Columbia on Tuesday afternoon. Arrival is expected shortly after 1 p.m. ET.