OMAHA, Neb. — Dreams do come true!
It took 21 years and now finally, Coastal Carolina University is a champion.
There were some finger nail chewing, some head scratching, some eyes closed and as the strike three echoed across the diamond there was a rush of air escaping as Coastal Carolina University scored enough runs and held off the University of Arizona 4-3, in front of a full house inside T.D. Ameritrade Field.
Coastal Carolina University baseball coach Gary Gilmore waited two decades before he made the trip to Omaha but he said it was worth the wait.
“We aren’t the best team in the country,” Gilmore said. “But we are the National Champions. This program has been a lot better than people give credit for.”
Coastal Carolina University scored four runs in the sixth inning and that proved to just enough for the victory.
Chanticleer designator hitter G.K. Young provided the power in the sixth inning with a two-run home run in the sixth inning that sailed over the right center field, it was Coastal Carolina University’s 97th home run of the season.
“All the boys wanted to be a part of something like this with Coach Gilmore and get here to Omaha,” Young said. “To help him do that is special. And to win with these boys after I’ve been
with them for three years, I love them so much. I’m so happy”
The game plan for Gilmore and his coaching staff was simple, take the ball and place it without any reservation in the capable hand of the NCAA 2016 College World Series Most Outstanding Player, starting pitcher Andrew Beckwith.
“It seems unbelievable, coach Gilmore deserves this,” Beckwith said. “It was a full team effort!”
After Wednesday night’s game was wash away because of weather, it gave Gilmore and his staff a chance to reevaluate the situation.
“He deserved the start,” Gilmore said about his choice to start Beckwith, Thursday afternoon under the Nebraska blue sky.
Beckwith worked 5.2 innings giving up six hits, walking three and striking out two before being replaced by Bobby Holmes.
Gilmore made another move by putting the baseball in the hand of Alex Cunningham, he earned his first save, striking out Ryan Haug for the final out of the game.
The University of Arizona did put up a gallant fight especially in the sixth after giving up four runs by scoring two runs and then in the ninth inning scoring one run and having the tying run standing at third base and the winning run at second base.
Starting the game for the University of Arizona, Bobby Dalbec took the tough loss for the Wildcats. He worked 5.2 innings giving up four hits, walking three and striking out eight and closed the series with leading the College World Series with 25 strikeouts in 20 innings.
“First of all I would like to congratulate Coach Gilmore and his coaching staff they had an amazing season,” University of Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “A deserving champion.”
Johnson and his Wildcats thought that they had scored the first run of the game in the third inning.
Cody Ramer hit a liner that got under the glove of Coastal Carolina’s right fielder Conner Owings and the ball rolled to the right field fence and Ramer ran all the way to third base.
Zach Gibbons then came up to the plate and he hit a come backer to Beckwith. He came off of the mound and grabbed the ball and threw it home to catcher David Parrett and he reached back toward home and place the glove with the ball on the Gibbons’ right shoulder. It was close play at the plate but the out counted and ended the inning.
“It would have been huge, you guys have watched the whole series,” Johnson said about the importance of scoring first in the tournament. “It seemed like the team that scored first won. He read it perfectly, it is what we call a gray area. It has to be past the pitcher except what we call a swinging bunt. Beckwith can really do that with that sink. Zach hit it into the ground . He told me he was safe.”
The quest is over for Coastal Carolina University for they now have a NCAA Championship trophy to place in the school’s trophy case for the rest of the world can see-dreams do come true.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation.
I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.