OMAHA, Neb. – After advancing further than anyone could have imagined, the Arizona baseball team came up just short.
The UA lost to Coastal Carolina 4-3 in the third and deciding game of the College World Series finals Thursday at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Chanticleers won their first CWS title. The Wildcats, who won the first game of the series before dropping two straight, were seeking their fifth.
Starters Bobby Dalbec and Andrew Beckwith each threw five scoreless innings. Everything changed in the sixth.
Arizona’s Dalbec walked David Parrett to lead off the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Michael Paez also walked. Dalbec struck out Connor Owings, but the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.
Zach Remillard then a hit a grounder up the middle. Cody Ramer couldn’t handle it near the second-base bag, allowing Parrett to score. Ramer then tried to get Paez at third and threw the ball away. Two errors. Two runs.
Despite Dalbec’s pitch count nearing 100, two left-handed hitters coming up and lefty Cameron Ming ready in the bullpen, Arizona coach Jay Johnson left Dalbec in the game. He hung an 0-2 breaking ball to G.K. Young, who launched a two-run homer to left to make it 4-0.
After a single by Tyler Chadwick, Johnson came to the mound to take out Dalbec. As he waited for Ming to arrive, Dalbec squeezed Ramer’s shoulder and rubbed his back, consoling his crestfallen friend and teammate.
All four runs charged to Dalbec were unearned.
The Wildcats halved the deficit in the bottom of the sixth on Jared Oliva’s two-out, two-RBI single. However, reliever Bobby Holmes struck out Louis Boyd to end the inning.
Arizona put runners on first and second in the seventh against Alex Cunningham. But Ryan Haug grounded into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play. Haug was pinch-hitting for Cesar Salazar, who got hurt the previous inning.
Haug had another chance in the bottom of the ninth. After Zach Gibbons’ sacrifice fly made it 4-3, Ryan Aguilar doubled into the left-field corner. But with runners on second and third, Cunningham struck out Haug to end the game and the 2016 season.
Arizona appeared to break through in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Ramer lined a single to right field. Owings misplayed the ball, and Ramer advanced to third.
Gibbons hit a chopper to the right of Beckwith, who threw home. Ramer appeared to touch the plate before catcher David Parrett tagged him. However, plate umpire Joe Burleson called Ramer out.
Aguilar followed with a single, but he and Gibbons were left stranded. The Wildcats left five runners on base through the first five innings, including two apiece in the second and third.