All year the University of Arizona baseball team broke its huddles with a call of “Omaha!” Once they got to Omaha the cry switched to “Win it!”
It has been won.
The Arizona Wildcats are the 2012 College World Series champions, completing a perfect 10-0 run through the NCAA tournament.
I don’t believe it. I don’t believe a team this thin just won a month-long tournament. Swept the tournament. Never trailed at the College World Series.
The three UA starting pitchers combined to throw 85 of the 94 innings in the postseason. The other 27 outs were recorded by two guys.
Tyler Parmenter had a single at-bat in one of the regional blowouts. Every other swing was taken by 10 players.
It was Mathew Troupe – half of that two-man bullpen – who was on the mound when the dogpile started. And that one bench player? All Brandon Dixon did was drive in the championship-winning run.
A 10-game streak to win a title, using just 15 players. Somewhere Kevin O’Neill is wondering if he chose the wrong sport.
The Look was legitimate. The domination continued. South Carolina had its back against the wall and only got three hits Monday night. The Gamecocks scored just one run – and if Dixon throws home on that grounder in the seventh maybe they don’t score at all – off a guy who hadn’t pitched in three full weeks.
This isn’t to diminish what South Carolina did. Not one bit. That team set record after record during the best three-year run at the CWS in 38 years. It just makes Arizona’s performance even more remarkable. The Cats faced the greatest champion the sport has seen in almost four decades and completely shut them down.
Two total runs in the two-game championship series sweep, and Kurt Heyer didn’t have to do anything but show off his goatee.
Arizona coach Andy Lopez continued to push the right button every single time. Bring back Heyer on short rest? Take down Florida State a second time to sweep the bracket. Save Heyer and go with James Farris against South Carolina? 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball.
(By the way, the only UA baseball replica jersey you could buy all year? The same blue one the Cats happened to be wearing Monday night. I’m going to say the coach was somehow behind that too.)
Lopez now goes from a guy who won a title with a one-hit-wonder Pepperdine club, or who couldn’t win the Pac-12, to just the second coach to win the College World Series at two different schools. Last year he was recruiting players who weren’t even born the first time he won a championship. Now he’s the face of a program that combines the foundation of tradition with the buzz of a new home and the shine of a big new trophy.
He also proved the authenticity of two historical truisms:
When Arizona hosts a regional, Andy Lopez wins the national championship.
Every other time the Wildcats go to the College World Series they win it all.
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