Trent Gilbert thought that he had won the College World Series as he caught a line drive and dove towards second base, trying to get the game-ending double play.
Instead, the game ended a play later with Robert Refsnyder grabbing a fly ball and giving the Wildcats a 4-1 win and their first National Championship since 1986.
Refsnyder, the College World Series Most Outstanding Player, led off the top of the ninth with a single over the third baseman’s head. Seth Mejias-Brean sacrificed him to second base and Refsnyder scored the National Championship winning run on Brandon Dixon’s double down the left field line.
The Wildcats weren’t done there, adding two more very important insurance runs. After the Dixon double, Riley Moore struck out, leaving the freshman Gilbert at the plate with two on and two out. Gilbert came through, driving a line drive into right field and plating a pair of Wildcats.
Arizona jumped on the board first, with a run in the top of the third inning. Joseph Maggi led off the inning with a double that stayed just fair down the left field line. He was moved to third on a Riley Moore sac bunt and scored on a Gilbert groundout, giving Arizona a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Christian Walker reached with a lead off walk and advanced to third on a one out single by Adam Matthews. Walker scored the next play when Kyle Martin grounded out to first base.
Arizona decided to pitch “Big Game” James Farris in game two instead of ace Kurt Heyer. It proved to be the right decision for Head Coach Andy Lopez. Farris, a sophomore, lived up to his nickname, pitching a masterpiece, giving up just a single run in seven and two-third innings. He only gave up two hits on the night, but took a no decision.
Mathew Troupe came on in relief, getting a huge strikeout with a runner on third base in the bottom of the eighth. Troupe closed the game, getting out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth. He loaded the bases with one out, but got the line out and fly out to pick up the final win of the season.
Michael Roth, South Carolina’s ace, took the mound trying to force a game three. He threw just 85 pitches on three days rest getting through six and two-third innings. Roth pitched as advertised, but gave up a lone run that almost proved to be the difference in the game.