The South Carolina Gamecocks won the College World Series in 2010 and 2011. They won the last College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium by coming from behind and shocking a lot of college baseball fans and writers. They won the first College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park by being the favorites and going undefeated. History and South Carolina the past few years seem to go hand-in-hand, but that was not the case tonight.
Just as they did in the opening game of the College World Series Finals, the Arizona Wildcats played great defense, had great pitching, and hit the ball really well. James Farris pitched a fantastic game and kept a struggling South Carolina offense in check. The Wildcats defense made some great plays once again to kill any South Carolina momentum and change the game. Most importantly, the Arizona offense was able to do what most college teams the past couple years were not able to do. That thing is hitting off of Michael Roth and Matthew Price.
Roth and Price have built such a legacy in the past two years of the College World Series that both of them are now in consideration for being two of the best pitchers of all-time in Omaha. Price has the most wins in College World Series history, and Roth has the most innings pitched. They’re both great parts of the dynasty that is and was South Carolina baseball.
Winning the College World Series takes more than just talent on the baseball field. Florida proved that to us this year. It takes heart and want. Heart and want doesn’t win it either. Stony Brook proved that to us this year. Winning the College World Series takes being different than every other team and having something that no other team has. Arizona was that team this year, and they were that team especially in Omaha.
Looking at South Carolina and how they win games, one might think that they are a team that’s really hard to beat. That would be a true assessment. Over the past three seasons, South Carolina has proved to college baseball fans that they are someone to fear. They started off as a team that lost the first game in the College World Series that fought back to win it all. The next year, they were the best team in college baseball and dominated teams. This year, they were the team looking for a three-peat that despite not having the same talent as the years they won somehow found a way to win games and to get as far as they got. Arizona knew all of this about them. They prepared for the Gamecocks to be a tough contestant.
Arizona did not trail once this entire College World Series in Omaha. That may not be a great thing when you’re facing one of the best teams at comeback wins, but Arizona never lost their poise and had plenty of swagger to keep their offense going despite facing some of the best pitchers in this College World Series. They proved in the game tonight that they weren’t intimidated by South Carolina’s recent history, their great pitching, or their heart and desire to win games no matter what.
It takes a lot to win the College World Series. More than talent, more than heart, and more than being the defending champion. It takes being that team. The team that was good in the regular season, but became great in the postseason. The team that had one of three things (pitching, hitting, and defense) on their side, but somehow excelled in all three during the College World Series.
Arizona was that team. They were good in the regular season, but became great in the postseason. They had one of three things (pitching, hitting, and defense) on their side, but somehow excelled in all three during the College World Series. That is why Arizona took down the two-time defending champions. That is why Arizona won the College World Series.