OMAHA, Neb.--Konner Wade took care of business on the mound and the Wildcats gave him solid run support in moving Arizona (47-17) to within one game of its third NCAA title with a 5-1 victory Sunday night over South Carolina in game one of the best-of-three College World Series Championship Series.
A crowd of 24,748 saw Wade (11-3) throw his second complete game of the College World Series, allowing six hits, striking out three and walking one. He was efficient, as was UA's defense, as the Gamecocks (49-19) left only five runners on base. The Cats, who stranded 11 runners, came up with timely hits and took advantage of an early mistake.
Robert Refsnyder drove in all the runs UA needed with a two-run home run in the first, and was joined with two hits or more by a trio of Cats. Freshman catcher Riley Moorehad three. The Cats knocked out 12 hits, their third double-digit performance at the plate in the Series.
Wade's pair of complete games were the first in a College World Series since Jason Windsor of Cal State Fullerton accomplished the feat in 2004. Arizona has won 10 consecutive games.
The two teams square off again in TD Ameritrade Park at 7 p.m. Monday (CDT), with Arizona needing one victory to secure a national championship to go with its trio of titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986. Game 3 of the Championship Series, if necessary, is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Wade's effort Sunday against the two-time defending NCAA Champion Gamecocks was part four of the Wildcats' starting pitching success in Omaha. He and top starter Kurt Heyerhave combined to throw 33 innings in the Cats' four games in Omaha.
Joey Pankake reached on an error by UA third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean to open the game. A good play in the hole up the middle by diving shortstop Alex Mejia stabbed a ground ball by Evan Marzilli, flipping it to Trent Gilbertto force Pankake at second and start a double play. Christian Walker struck out to end the frame.
Johnny Fieldhit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and after a sacrifice bunt by Mejia, Refsnyder smacked a two-strike home run into the right-field bullpen to make it 2-0. It was his team-best eighth of the year and CWS-high two in Omaha.
The Cats added to their lead in the third. Gilbert reached on an error by Pankake and Joey Rickardfollowed with a single through the left side. Mejia singled to left for the RBI, unearned, and reached second on a throw to third too late to catch Rickard, to put two in scoring position. Gamecocks pitcher Forrest Koumas (2-3) walked Refsnyder intentionally to load the bases, and bring on reliever Evan Beal.USC turned a double play off a grounder to Pankake by Mejias-Brean to get out the jam.
Koumas, who hadn't pitched in the postseason since last year and was getting his fourth 2012 start, allowed three runs, two earned, and struck out three, walking one in lasting two and one-third innings.
UA picked up another run in the fifth. Field drew a walk, then advanced to third on a wild pitch that catcher Grayson Greiner threw past the bag into center trying to nab him at second. Mejia grounded to short, but Field had to hold, and then Refsnyder was walked intentionally to put runners at the corners. Mejias-Brean singled to center to plate the run and make it 4-0, also an unearned run.
The Gamecocks put a run on the board in the sixth. Greiner doubled to left-center to open the inning and with two-outs scored on a single up the middle to snap Wade's scoreless inning streak in Omaha at 14 and two-thirds innings. He walked the next batter, Christian Walker, to put the tying run at the plate, but LB Dantzler grounded to first to strand two.
Arizona had hits by Riley Mooreand Rickard in the bottom of the inning, but ended up stranding a fifth runner in scoring position to that point.
Right fielder Refsnyder threw out Adam Matthews at third trying to reach the corner on a single by Kyle Martin. Mejia made a tough play in the hole on a ground ball by Tanner English and Greiner flied to left to thwart a potential USC rally in the seventh.
Refsnyder singled with one out in the UA half of the inning, moved up on an infield chopper, and then beat a throw to the plate on an RBI single by Brown, making it 5-1 Cats and complete the scoring
The Cats left three on base in the eighth after a hit by Moore, a walk and a single by Field, but Refsnyder struck out swinging.
UA's bullpen, inactive all night, got some movement in the ninth. Walker singled to left field to lead off, but Wade got Dantzler to fly out to deep right-center, a groundball out and the final out on a charging foul-pop catch behind the plate by third baseman Mejias-Brean.
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