Arizona delivered the first punch in the best of three CWS championship series with a 5-1 win over South Carolina Sunday night. The vaunted Wildcat offense was somewhat held in check with the five runs being half their average in the CWS, and only three were earned. The night truly belonged to Arizona righthander Konner Wade who went the distance on 110 pitches and gave up just six hits whiile striking out three and walking one.
Robert Refsnyder gave Wade all the offense he would need with a first inning two run opposite field home run to right off Forrest Koumas. The Wildcats added runs in the third and fifth innings for a 4-0 lead. USC scored its run in the sixth on an RBI single by Evan Marzilli and perhaps had a chance to rally in the 7th. But with no one out, Adam Matthews was thrown out at third following a Kyle Martin single to right, and Wade retired the final two batters of the inning.
Both teams will start their aces Monday night…lefty Michael Roth for South Carolina and righty Kurt Heyer for Arizona. The Gamecocks are 9-0 in CWS elimination games since 2010, but only two teams have lost the first game of the championship series and gone on to win it. The Wildcats are now 9-0 in the NCAA Tournament this season will be going for their fourth national championship while trying to deny the Gamecocks’ a third straight title.