[Note: This article was compiled as a series of live updates during Tuesday night’s game]
Omaha, Neb. – The Arizona Wildcats jumped out to an early lead in the College World Series finals again on Tuesday night, putting up a run in the first off Coastal Carolina’s Mike Morrison to take a 1-0 advantage. Coastal came back to score two and take a 2-1 lead on a one-out single by Anthony Marks in the top of the third.
The Wildcats entered the game up 1-0 in the best-of-three series.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats threatened with runners on second and third and one out after a sacrifice bunt. Morrison responded with two strikeouts to close out the inning and bring his tally on the evening to six K’s. Arizona starter Kevin Ginkel was effective as well with seven strikeouts through five.
Arizona put runners on first and third with no one out in the bottom of the fifth, before Morrison registered his seventh strikeout. The Wildcats then drew even at 2-2 on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ryan Aguilar. Morrison struck out third baseman Bobby Dalbec to end the inning. The Chanticleers’ right-hander continued through the sixth with a career-high ten strikeouts.
Ginkel toed the rubber to start the seventh and continued with a low-nineties fastball, striking out two and matching Morrison’s total for the evening. Morrison ended his evening after 6 2/3 and 103 pitches. Reliever Bobby Holmes entered the game in relief after the Coastal starter was hit hard, both for outs. After yielding a single to hot-hitting right fielder Zach Gibbons, Holmes closed out the seventh.
Left-hander Cameron Ming entered the game on the hill to start the eighth for the Wildcats. Anthony Marks began the inning with his third single of the game for the Chants. Shortstop Michael Paez moved Marks to second on a sacrifice. Lefty Connor Owings entered the box with one out and hit a short flare to left that dropped in, scoring Marks from second to give Coastal a 3-2 lead.
Third baseman Zach Remillard then pulled a double down the left field line, moving Owings to third. Ming was lifted for fellow left-hander Alfonso Rivas. Designated hitter G.K. Young drove in both Owings and Remillard on a single to run the score to 5-2, but was thrown out at second attempting to stretch it into a double. Second baseman Tyler Chadwick followed with a two-out single, chasing Rivas. Centerfielder Billy Cooke popped out to first to end the inning with Coastal up by three runs heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Aguilar singled off Holmes to start off the Arizona eighth. Dalbec then walked to put on two with no one out. Holmes then walked the bases loaded before getting his first out on an infield fly from Jared Oliva. First baseman Kevin Woodall, Jr. made a diving stop on a grounder and threw to second for out number two, while Aguilar scored to make it 5-3. An error by Paez on a grounder scored Dalbec. Cody Ramer flew out to Marks in leftfield to end the inning with the Chants’ lead narrowed to 5-4.
Coastal went quietly in the top of the ninth against Arizona reliever Cody Deason.
Holmes got Gibbons to pop out to Woodall for out number one in the bottom of the frame. A second pop out to Paez at short, and the Chants closed to within an out of game three. Aguilar then lined out to Woodall at first to close it out.
One game remains to decide the 2016 season and its national champion.