Helen Wynia returned to TD Ameritrade Park on Thursday to find that she was sort of a big deal.
The 84-year-old Oakland, Neb., resident was hit by a Robert Refsnyder foul ball during Arizona's win over UCLA on Sunday. She came back to the ballpark Thursday carrying the ball that ricocheted off her arm and opened a gash that needed 26 stitches to close.
College World Series officials, with help from the UA, made it a memorable day. Helen and her family were given tickets behind home plate. UA coach Andy Lopez met her before the game and presented her with a ball signed by the team.
Lopez called it a neat moment, though Helen chided him for talking to her so close to game time.
"I told her, if I didn't, I'd get spanked when I get home. My 92-year-old mother could still take a belt to me," Lopez said with a laugh. "She's a blessing. A neat lady.
"I did say this: 'You picked our best hitter, Refsnyder.'"
Helen has no real connection to Arizona, except, she said, that "I like the South, and we went down there for a wedding, my grandson."
Pressed for the city, Helen thought.
"Tampa? No, Tempe!" she said.
The big numbers
Number of microphones ESPN is using for the College World Series. There are 52 mics on the field, 10 in the crowd and six wired to umpires.
Number of pitchers used by Florida State Thursday, tied for most all-time in the College World Series. North Carolina (2007) and Arkansas (2009) were the others.
Number of pitchers used by the UA in its three College World Series games combined. Kurt Heyer, Mat Troupe and Tyler Crawford pitched in the opener, Konner Wade had a complete game Sunday and Heyer and Crawford threw Thursday.
Straightening one out
Refsnyder was as surprised as you were when he belted a home run in the fourth inning of Thursday's game.
"Funny part is, I felt terrible in batting practice," he said. "I was popping everything up. I was glad Coach Lopez didn't see, or he'd be yelling at me a lot."
Refsnyder was so alarmed by his hitting that he pulled assistant Matt Siegel into an underground batting cage for five minutes of one-on-one hitting.
"I finished on a good round," he said.
Tweet of the day
"Took care of work today! Made it to championship, time to bring the trophy back to Tucson and all our fans."
UA reliever Troupe (@mathewtroupe), tweeting to fans after Thursday's win
Florida State contacted UA officials late Wednesday to ask a favor: Would it be OK if Seminoles center fielder James Ramsey received the Lowe's Senior CLASS award on the field before Thursday's game?
The Wildcats didn't mind - and, after all, Ramsey deserves it.
The FSU star carries a 3.84 GPA and is a finance major. With Ramsey leading the way, the FSU baseball team recorded 100 percent participation in community service, most on campus.
Along with ex-FSU quarterback Christian Ponder, Ramsey founded Red Cross Noles, making FSU one of the nation's most disaster-prepared universities in the nation.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Ramsey with their first-round pick in this month's draft.
He's expected to join UA ace Kurt Heyer and shortstop Alex Mejia in the pros; St. Louis selected the Wildcats in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Quote of the day
"Well, about the easiest way to sum it up is to say we got taken to the woodshed today."
Florida State coach Mike Martin, on Thursday's loss to Arizona