The Arizona Wildcats denied the South Carolina Gamecocks their three-peat College World Series championship and abruptly ended one of the newest emerging dynasties in all of sports.
With a championship this year, South Carolina would have been the first team to three-peat since the storied 1970s Southern California teams. With this defeat, the Gamecocks have lost their potential place in the history books as one of the best teams in college baseball history.
The Wildcats convincingly dealt with the defending back-to-back series champion Gamecocks 4-1 Monday evening. Convincingly, though, is an understatement for how the Wildcats earned their first crown since 1986. Arizona never trailed during the two-game series to name a champion.
Game 2, though, was anything but a blowout and came down to the wire. The Gamecocks refused to let their dynasty dreams go quietly into the night. In the bottom of the ninth, they loaded the bases with only one out but uncharacteristically failed to deliver.
They had the opportunity to turn things around—to achieve greatness.
But Wildcats’ pitcher Mathew Troupe had a different idea. Rather than folding under pressure, the freshman reliever composed himself and retired the next two batters to secure the 4-1 victory.
For whatever reason, the stars did not align this year for the Gamecocks. Heading into Game 2, they scored only 11 runs and hit .197 over the past five games combined.
Sometimes teams get hot at the right time, but that was not the case for South Carolina in this year’s finale.
Four of the Gamecocks’ top players were selected in the first nine rounds of the MLB draft. Of those four, senior pitching ace Michael Roth will depart to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels picked him in the ninth round of the draft.
There is not a lack of talent coming into the Gamecocks’ excellent program, but you have to wonder if this was their last shot at another title any time soon.
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