OMAHA, Neb. – Arizona played its fifth errorless game in this year’s College World Series in the 3-0 victory over Coastal Carolina on Monday.

The Wildcats had 16 assists to go with their 27 putouts. Pitcher JC Cloney had 14 outs recorded via ground balls. His infielders made all the plays.

“We set our defense for our pitchers making pitches,” UA head coach Jay Johnson. “And our pitchers making pitches that are helping us get them to hit the ball where we want them to. In terms of the infield defense, our guys are playing really aggressively, playing with a lot of confidence. They’re getting the right hop all the time. And this is the most beautiful ballpark in America, and the grounds crew does a great job. And that matters. That helps a lot.”

Arizona’s defense has committed just 1 error in 221 total chances over six games in this year’s College World Series for a fielding percentage of .995.

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Teams that have won Game 1 of the championship series have won the title 10 times in 13 years. The three teams to have lost Game 1 and gone on to win the national championship were Oregon State over North Carolina in 2006, Fresno State over Georgia in 2008, and Virginia over Vanderbilt in 2015.

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Arizona has surrendered just six runs in six CWS games for a tidy team ERA of 1.00. In 54 innings, Wildcat pitchers have allowed 35 hits, walked 16 and struck out 54.

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Arizona tallied a run in the top of the first. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 15-0 in the first inning in their 11 games (2012 & 2016) at TD Ameritrade Park. Tonight was UA’s 11th game at TDAP and the team to score first has won all 11 of those contests.

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Coastal Carolina was shut out for just the second time this season. The Chanticleers were blanked 11-0 at home by Wake Forest on March 8.

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CCU had an unusual 7-4 putout at second on a fielder’s choice. With Zach Gibbons on first with one away, Ryan Aguilar hit a ball into shallow left near the foul line. The ball dropped fair in between three defenders. Gibbons went halfway between first and second, but was retreating to first when the ball dropped. Left fielder Anthony Marks quickly came up with the ball and fired to second to beat Gibbons to the bag.

 

About The Author Phil Stanton