‘David vs Goliath’ showdown in CWS between Arizona and Coastal Carolina

The Road to Omaha will officially come to end one day this week as we have reached the final two.

On one side, you have the traditional powerhouse program in the Arizona Wildcats, going toe-to-toe with the upstart Cinderella story in the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The former will be looking to capture its fifth national title in school history, first since the 2012 campaign, while the latter will be vying for the program’s first baseball championship, after punching a ticket to their first College World Series.

ArizonaThe two finished the regular season in the Top 25. Arizona received an at-large bid from the Pac-12 Conference, one of four teams from the league to participate in this year’s CWS. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina made it a clean sweep this year in the Big South, taking home both the conference regular season and tournament crowns.

Both have taken very similar paths during their respective postseason runs to get to this particular points. Not being the host of a Regional in the first weekend of the tournament, both needed to stave off elimination and take down the host school in a de facto best two-of-three set. Then they swept the Super Regional round – Coastal Carolina took down No. 8 overall seed LSU in Baton Rouge, while the ‘Cats won a pair of one-run games against host Mississippi State in Starkville, MS.

The similarities in pathways continues once it was whittled down to eight teams in Omaha. After going 1-1 in their first two games, both Arizona and Coastal Carolina each won three consecutive ‘win or home’ games in three days, beating the team twice that previously beat them earlier in the week.

Coastal CarolinaFor the Chanticleers, they have been riding the 3-4-5 trio of Zach Remillard, Connor Owings, and G.K. Young. The three are hitting a combined .362 in their team’s 70 games played this season. They will likely be sending pitcher Andrew Beckwith to the bump in either Game 1 or 2. Beckwith in 25 games (nine starts) is 14-1 and posting a 1.94 ERA with a K:BB ratio of nearly 5:1. He pitched on Friday against TCU, going the distance and allowing just one run on six hits against the Horned Frogs.

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Another big part of the success this season for CCU is the long ball. They clubbed 95 homers this year, tops in the country.

On the other side for the Wildcats, they have some thump in their own lineup as well. Zach Gibbons led the Pac-12 in hitting with a .387 batting average and has been smoking hot in this College World Series. In his team’s first five games, Gibbons is 9-for-19 with three runs, seven RBI and a base on balls.

The Wildcats should be fairly armed and ready to go on the mound against the Chanticleers. They have four pitchers with an ERA under 3.00, part of a pitching staff that ranked 3rd in the Pac-12 this season and 26th nationally with a 3.26 ERA.

It will be a good old fashioned ‘David vs Goliath’ showdown in Omaha beginning on Monday. Coastal Carolina is hoping to walk out of Omaha with five all-time wins in the CWS, with the fifth being the title clincher. Arizona will have other plans to show the new kids on the block how it’s truly done on the biggest of stages.

Will the tradition and history reign supreme? Or will the storybook of Coastal Carolina baseball finish with a happy ending? Tune into ESPN on Monday June 27 to watch the championship series get underway from TD Ameritrade Ballpark.

  • Game 1: Arizona vs Coastal Carolina – Monday June 27 @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Game 2: Coastal Carolina vs Arizona – Tursday June 28 @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Game 3: Arizona vs Coastal Carolina – Wednesday June 29 @ p.m. ET on ESPN
    • if necessary
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