The 2016 College World Series takes a slight breather Wednesday after what was a wild Tuesday of heartbreak and the continuation of a dream.
There, No. 1 Florida encountered No. 5 Texas Tech, where the Red Raiders pulled off the epic 3-2 upset by holding strong in the final frame of action. Elsewhere, TCU and Coastal Carolina met and saw the Horned Frogs cruise to a 6-1 outcome.
The unpredictable action continues Wednesday, where UC Santa Barbara will take on Arizona in a battle sure to feature plenty of pitching while the former continues an epic Cinderella story of a team in its first College World Series.
Here's a look at everything to know about the day's slate before it gets underway at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
|7 p.m.||UC Santa Barb. vs. Arizona||ESPN||Elimination|
Games are available for live-streaming on WatchESPN.
What a ride so far for the Gauchos, a 43-19 team that made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1952 but never made it here to the CWS.
Unfortunately for the Cinderella, the team got a tough draw in the first game of the bracket against Oklahoma State and posted a goose egg in a 1-0 loss. Still, the Gauchos proved they were much more than a just-happy-to-be-here squad in their second game against Miami (Fla.), surviving a rain delay to post a four-run sixth inning to get a 5-3 win.
Head coach Andrew Checketts spoke with the media after the game about his team's resiliency.
"It was a pretty good battle, and our guys did a really good job of competing," Checketts said, according to UCSB Athletics (via NCAA.com). "I thought they did a really good job during the rain delay of kind of staying in third and fourth gear and being able to come out and land some more blows."
Big West Baseball took to Twitter to illustrate what the dream looks like:
As fate would have it, though, Wednesday's encounter offers plenty of common threads.
For instance, the 45-win Wildcats also took care of business against the nationally seeded Hurricanes in dominant 5-1 fashion. The team posted a 3-0 advantage right out of the gates before its pitcher even took the mound, which allowed Nathan Bannister and Cameron Ming to relax and combine for 14 fanned batters.
The Wildcats hit the same roadblock as the Gauchos, falling victim to Oklahoma State in a tame 1-0 affair. There, Arizona had nothing close to an answer for the Cowboys' Tyler Buffett, who tossed eight innings and allowed just three hits.
Arizona will enter Wednesday with the proverbial chip on the shoulder, though, because the umpires ruled out an apparent Wildcats baserunner in the ninth inning, a controversial call at the worst time possible.
Alas, Arizona coach Jay Johnson has made a point to not permit his guys excuses going into Wednesday.
"If I talk about umpiring, that is taking away credit from Buffett," Johnson said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "That's how it goes. Those guys are human. They're going to make mistakes. They've gotten way more right than they've gotten wrong over the last three or four weeks."
Both teams will need to adapt Wednesday and learn from the recent mistakes to stay alive. The Gauchos will bring a potent offense led by Austin Bush, who entered the tournament with 49 RBI and 11 home runs. Arizona will bring the pitching after Bannister just went off against Miami, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Remember, fellow starter Bobby Dalbec just tossed eight innings against the Cowboys and only coughed up one run.
Wednesday's showdown can go by many different narratives. Strength vs. strength. David vs. Goliath. It goes on and on, but one detail transcends it all—Oklahoma State, which has already bested both squads, awaits.
As if there weren't enough at stake, a shot at redemption awaits, too.
Stats and information courtesy of NCAA.com unless otherwise specified.