College World Series: Arizona Baseball rolls over SEC to Omaha!

5/24/2016. during the Wildcats 12-1 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats. Hi-Corbett Field, Tucson, AZ. Photo credit to Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics
5/24/2016. during the Wildcats 12-1 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats. Hi-Corbett Field, Tucson, AZ. Photo credit to Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics /

Arizona Baseball has proven all announcers, the SEC, the NCAA wrong by winning their way through the South to be the first of the final teams in the 2016 College World Series.

The Arizona Baseball team has been on the road for weeks now, and they have battled to beat Sam Houston University, Lafayette University, and now the precious SEC conference No. 6 ranked Mississippi State to punch their ticket to the College World Series.

ZonaZealots got on the Wildcats freight train mid-season and continued to enjoy the ride. And it has been a wild ride full of excitement, fun, camaraderie, tons of heart, and wins. Coach Jay Johnson has taken a team that was projected to end their season in ninth place in the Pac-12. They finished ranked No. 3 in the Pac-12 and were the only Pac-12 team left in the Super Regionals.

Now, the Wildcats are the only Pac-12 team left in the College World Series. Yes, you read that right! The team has been flying under the radar and ended the MLB draft with at least five players drafted including one commit who has yet to step on to Hi Corbett field.

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The Wildcats record is now an impressive 44 – 21 overall (15 – 14 Pac-12). Their last two wins were won by only one run. Game one was dominated by future Boston Red Sox third baseman Bobby Dalbec pitching 8 3/4 innings. Cameron Ming closed out the game with the finals out for a game one win.

Game two saw Nathan Bannister struggle more than usual giving up four hits when Tyler Crawford and freshman Cody Deason stepped up to the pitcher mound to help his team out of an inning. The Wildcats were down 5-1, and rallied back to tie the Bulldogs in the ninth inning but could not bring in any of the baserunners.

The announcers were quoting stats alluding to the fact that when the Wildcats were losing by four or more they rarely win, already were calling the Bulldogs winners, but there were a tiny bit too soon.

By this time in the game, the dugout was loud and proud rallying their teammates, the shouts of support could be heard through our televisions, phones, and radios. Or maybe it was Robby Medel‘s Cheez-it cheer, whatever it was meant to signify none of us know, but it worked.

The tenth inning did not produce any winners thanks to Cameron Ming, who pitched into three straight grounders for outs one, two and three. In the 11th inning, the Wildcats loaded up the bases on a Dalbec walk and Kyle Lewis stepped on home after a Cesar Salazar’s single.

It took five pitchers to beat the Bulldogs the second one: Future Seattle Mariner Nathan Bannister (6 innings), Tyler Crawford (0.1) Cody Deason (1.2), Rio Gomez (1), and Cameron Ming (2).

Winning play:

The tweets ensued….ZonaZealots in the middle of all the euphoria…

The freshmen came through for the cats today.

This will be the 17th time an Arizona Wildcats Baseball team has appeared in the NCAA College World Series.

Just maybe, the Cats were helped by two newly haloed Angels Cody Ramer and Zach Gibbons:

Pitcher Cameron Ming summed it up


Congrats all around, here are just a few:

must read: Arizona Wildcats Fans: Top 20 Fantasy Experiences

We have lost our collective voices but want to wish the Arizona Baseball team, who we have come to adore beyond all measures, success in their 17th appearance (last appearance in 2012) and Jay Johnson’s first time in the NCAA College World Series…never give up, we know you won’t! BearDown!!!  Oh, and please DO NOT misplace Robby’s lucky rally towel!