College baseball’s national championship trophy is returning to the Palmetto State. Five years after USC won the second of its back to back titles, Coastal Carolina stands alone at the top of the college baseball world in 2016 after a 4-3 win over Arizona Thursday afternoon in the decisive game of the CWS in Omaha. It’s the first national championship in the school’s history and it comes on the final day of membership in the Big South. Coastal becomes an official member of the Sun Belt on July 1st.
The game was scoreless for the first five innings, but just barely. Coastal pitcher Andrew Beckwith threw out a runner at the plate in the third inning but replay shows the home plate umpire missed the call.
The Chants scored four unearned runs in the sixth. The first two came on a pair of errors by Arizona second baseman Cody Ramer who mishandled a ground ball with two outs and runners on second and third and threw wildly past third allowing both runs to score. Later in the inning GK Young cracked a two run homer for a 4-0 lead.
Arizona cut the lead in half with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Jared Oliva. Bobby Holmes got a strikeout to end the sixth while stranding two baserunners.
Gary Gilmore then put the game in the hands of Alex Cunningham. He walked two in the seventh but got a one out ground ball to short for a double play. Cunningham then set the Wildcats down in order in the eighth. But things got dicey in the bottom of the ninth.
With one out Cunningham gave up a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-3. Now one out away from the championship. Cunningham yielded a double just inside the leftfield line by Ryan Aguilar. Coastal leftfielder Anthony Mark quickly got to the ball and fired a strike to his cutoff man holding the runner at third. Cunningham was able to end the drama with a swinging strikeout of Ryan Haug on a 3-2 pitch and the celebration for Coastal was on.
Beckwith (15-1) earned his third victory of the CWS and was named the series Most Outstanding Player. Coastal finishes the season with a record of 55-18.
Arizona and Coastal Carolina press conferences