Arizona vs. South Carolina Game 2 Highlights: Analyzing Big Plays from CWS Final

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJune 26, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 25:  The Arizona Wildcats team celebrates a 4-1 win and a 2-0 series sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 2 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Field on June 25, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

South Carolina's college baseball reign of terror is over, thanks to Arizona. 

After taking home College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011, the Gamecocks were primed to make it three straight, the first such run since USC in the early '70s.

Not so fast.

After strolling to an easy 5-1 win behind a strong pitching performance from Konner Wade in Game 1, Arizona was able to string together a ninth-inning rally and then hold off South Carolina in Game 2 for a 4-1 victory. 

And a national championship. It was the first for Arizona since 1986 and the fourth in school history.

But just because Arizona absolutely rolled through college's postseason doesn't mean Game 2 was a walk in the park. Let's take a look at the highlights from Monday's thrilling final game. 

James Farris' Gem

You think pitching on short rest is a tough task? Try pitching on 22 days of rest, because that's what James Farris had to do. 

In his first appearance since a June 3 victory over Louisville, Farris stepped in for the biggest start of his life and didn't disappoint. 

The sophomore—who rarely pitched as a freshman—went 7.2 innings and allowed just one run on two hits. He struck out four and walked only two. 

Farris wasn't credited with the win, but his brilliant performance, which was fueled by an impressive 65 strikes on 95 pitches, was a key part in keeping Arizona in the game. 

Jams in the 8th and 9th

And no, I'm not talking about the delicious kind of jam, unfortunately. 

In the bottom of the eighth, with the game tied at one, Matthew Troupe entered with a runner on third and two outs. Not necessarily an easy situation to be in for the freshman.

Nonetheless, going up against Joey Pankake (mmm, pancakes), he got a called third strike on a full count to end the threat. 

In the ninth, the Gamecocks, needing a big rally, loaded the bases with just one out after Troupe gave up a hit and two walks. 

But after a line drive to second for the second out, Grayson Greiner popped out to right field to end the season. 

9th Inning Rally

The Wildcats sure wanted to make things interesting, so I thank them for that. In addition to the two nail-biting jams Troupe worked out of, Arizona decided to wait until the top of the ninth to get the offense going.

Robert Refsnyder got things started off with a single, then after a groundout and an intentional walk to Bobby Brown, up stepped Brandon Dixon (40-second mark).

Yes, sophomore Brandon Dixon, who had come on specifically for his defense and was hitting just .245 on the season. 

No worry, though, as he ripped a double down the left field line to score Refsnyder, which ended up being the winning run. 

Trent Gilbert eventually added some insurance with a two-run single, but that was just icing on Arizona's national championship cake. 


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