Wade Shines In Arizona CWS Victory Over Gamecocks
The Arizona Wildcat baseball team arrived in Omaha over a week ago for the NCAA College World Series. They haven’t lost since, and now are 1 win away from a National Championship after defeating two-time defending champs South Carolina 5-1 on Sunday night.
A big reason why Arizona won was Wildcat pitcher Konner Wade (pictured left). Simply put, he was incredible. The sophomore who admittingly couldn’t throw strikes in preseason camp, tossed his third straight complete game victory on Sunday. He gave up six hits to the Gamecocks, allowing only 1 run. (his first ER of the CWS)
“You really are very thankful when a young guy gets better as the season goes on, which is what he’s done,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said in his postgame interview.
“I mean, there’s a couple days early in the season where you would have never said this would be occurring right now.”
Well it is, and the Gamecocks wish it wasn’t.
“I just felt like the difference in the game was Konner Wade,” said South Carolina coach Ray Tanner.
“Very, very impressive. He used both sides of the plate. He kept us from doing too much offensively. I felt like we were zoned in. We were ready to go. We didn’t make anything happen. But I think you give credit where credit’s due, and that’s with Konner Wade.”
Not bad for a guy who has hit 22 batters and had an 8.86 ERA in four starts in May. This postseason, he’s 4-0, with three complete games and a 1.29 ERA. He’s also the first pitcher since 2004 to pitch two complete games in the same College World Series.
Perhaps the biggest key for Wade is the lack of walks. He had only one on Sunday, and it was his first in 30+ innings.
“My past two starts, I had the same mentality — throw strikes and try to get ground balls,” explained Wade. “I’m not going to have a lot of strikeouts, obviously. But I think that works to my advantage when we get deep in the games because my pitch count is lower.”
Spoken like a kid who has a bright future in the big leagues.
Arizona and South Carolina will play tonight at 7:00. If the Gamecocks win, they’ll be a decisive Game 3 of the championship series tomorrow at the same time.