OMAHA, Neb. – Arizona right-hander Bobby Dalbec dominated Oklahoma State on Monday. Could he do it again on Saturday?
Yes he could.
Dalbec allowed just one run over 7.0 innings as UA downed OSU 5-1 Saturday afternoon to advance to the Championship Series of the 2016 College World Series.
The Wildcats (48-22) seek their fifth national championship and first since 2012. The Cowboys finished the season with a 43-22 record.
Dalbec (11-5) surrendered four hits, walked a pair and struck out six.
“I thought he did a really good job of controlling counts,” said Corey Hassel of OSU. “He never got into 3-0, it seemed like. He didn’t walk a lot of people. He didn’t really need to make a whole lot of adjustments. He could throw any pitch at any time.
“He mixed really well. That kid’s an unbelievable player.”
In the previous encounter on Monday, Dalbec allowed five hits and one run in 8.0 innings with one walk and 12 punchouts.
“I just didn’t try to change or differ from what I did the first time I faced them because it worked the first time,” Dalbec said. “I was trying to be down in the zone. I probably didn’t even have my best stuff today. But I was sinking the ball a little bit more and staying low.”
Only two leadoff hitters reached against Dalbec in seven frames, and he allowed multiple base-runners in just one inning.
As they have done recently, the Wildcats struck in the first. Leadoff hitter Cody Ramer thought a 3-0 pitch was ball 4, so he flipped the bat and trotted toward first. The pitch was called a strike and Ramer returned to the box. He laced the next pitch inside the first base bag for a double. Ramer stole third and came home on a groundout by Zach Gibbons to make it 1-0.
Ryan Aguilar kept the first going with a double to left center, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jared Oliva to give UA a 2-0 edge.
UA doubled its lead in the second on RBI doubles by Louis Boyd and Gibbons to make it a 4-0 game.
OSU got on the board in the top of the third. Jon Littell had a leadoff single, moved to third on a one-out double by Hassel and came home on a sac fly by J.R. Davis to narrow the gap to 4-1.
Gibbons gave the Wildcats an insurance run in the fourth with a run-scoring single. Gibbons finished with two hits and three RBI to pace the Wildcat offense.
“Zach Gibbons was put on the planet to hit with runners in scoring position,” Johnson said.
Arizona has won three straight elimination games in Omaha after needing three elimination-game victories in the Lafayette Regional.
“I think it’s a ‘one game at a time’ mentality,” Boyd said of the postseason success. “We play every game as a Super Bowl. We stay together as a team, and everyone just believes in one another.
“And we’re going into Monday really confident, really tight group of people, and we’re excited to get going.”