OMAHA, Neb. — The Arizona Wildcats boarded their charter plane headed for Tucson on Tuesday morning, an NCAA baseball championship trophy buckled into a front-row seat between two pillows.

The UA’s young College World Series heroes left Omaha with a real chance of returning.

Lost in Monday’s 4-1, national championship win over South Carolina was the play of many of the Wildcats’ undervalued — and heretofore underappreciated — underclassmen.

Freshman Trent Gilbert drove in three of the Wildcats’ four runs. The game’s winning pitcher, Mat Troupe, was also a freshman, as was all-tournament catcher Riley Moore.

A pair of sophomores — starting pitcher James Farris and first baseman Brandon Dixon — played beyond their years as the Wildcats won their first national championship since 1986.

“I think it’s no secret that the juniors, they’re the main contributors throughout the season,” said Gilbert, who finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs. “But me and some of the other younger guys feel just as confident in those situations. So when we get a chance like that, I like our chances as well.”

 

Read this entire story in Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star.