The University of Arizona is one win from a first national baseball championship in 26 years after beating the University of South Carolina 5-1 in the College World Series finals opener.
Arizona’s Robert Refsnyder hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska, while Wildcats starting pitcher Konner Wade tossed a complete game, limiting the two-time defending national champions to one run on six hits over nine innings.
Arizona (47-17) can win its first National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball title since 1986 with a victory tonight. If South Carolina wins, a decisive third game would be played tomorrow in Omaha.
Refsnyder, Arizona’s cleanup hitter, struck his eighth homer of the season in the bottom of the first inning against Gamecocks starting pitcher Forrest Koumas. Alex Mejia and Seth Mejias-Brean added run-scoring singles in the third and fifth innings to push the Wildcats’ lead to 4-0.
South Carolina’s lone run came in the sixth inning on a two-out run-scoring single by Evan Marzilli, while Bobby Brown’s single drove in the fifth Arizona run in the bottom of the seventh inning at TD Ameritrade Park.
Wade issued only one walk and had three strikeouts in becoming the first pitcher with two complete games at the College World Series since Jason Windsor of Cal-State Fullerton in 2004. In his previous start, on June 17 against UCLA, Wade threw a five-hit shutout as Arizona won 4-0.