Pitching was the biggest point of emphasis on the first day in Omaha. We didn’t see a pitcher come out of the bullpen until the top of the sixth inning when Miami brought in Andrew Cabezas to relieve starter Michael Mediavilla.
The stellar pitching began in the first game of the day between Oklahoma State and UC Santa Barbara. Both Shane Bieber, UCSB’s starter, and Thomas Hatch, Oklahoma State’s starter, went the distance in their game.
Honestly, Bieber looked better for most of the game as Hatch struggled to find it early but was completely dominate after the third inning. Even Bieber had some struggles, especially in the fourth inning when Oklahoma State got on the scoreboard, but was pretty dominate other than that inning.
The Cowboys were able to get three straight singles to begin the inning with the third being a RBI single from cleanup hitter Garrett Benge. Bieber was able to get out of the inning with a lineout double play to shortstop Clay Fisher and then a flyout to center field to end the inning.
After the fourth inning, neither team could muster anything close to a rally as both starter’s honed in on their plan and attacked the mitt.
Both pitcher’s truly worked all four quadrants of the plate with their fastball and had hitters off balance. Hatch was anywhere from 92-93 with his fastball and Bieber was around 92-93 as well.
Oklahoma State’s one run in the fourth would stand to be the only run of the game. The Cowboys advance to the winner’s bracket on Monday night, while the Gauchos go to the loser’s bracket and will play on Monday afternoon.
The nightcap of the first day in Omaha wouldn’t be a pitcher’s duel like the first game was.
Arizona came out and put up a three spot thanks to a lack of command from Miami starting pitcher Michael Mediavilla. Mediavilla would walk and hit the first two Arizona batters. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Mediavilla would hit another batter and then give up a bases loaded walk on four pitches to bring in the first run of the game.
Jared Oliva would get his only hit of the game, but it would a big one. It was a single down the right field line to score Zach Gibbons and JJ Matijevic to make it 3-0 Arizona but Kyle Lewis would be thrown out at home to end the inning.
Miami would scratch back with one run in the bottom of the fourth when they had bases loaded with one out and would get a single from Christopher Barr but would then leave the bases loaded after a strikeout and fielder’s choice. That would be Miami’s only true rally of the game.
Arizona would tack on two more runs to their lead in the fifth inning on a two-run double from Gibbons scoring Louis Boyd and Cody Ramer. Gibbons would be out at third on the play though trying to stretch his double into a triple.
Nathan Bannister, Arizona’s starting pitcher, was very good all night. Outside of the fourth inning, the Canes were never able to get anything going against Bannister. He went 7 IP with 11 K giving up 8 hits and 3 walks.
Bannister came out after the seven when he was at 118 pitches and the Cats were able to bring in lefty Cameron Ming who has been very reliable for them all postseason long.
Bannister has truly been the workhorse for Arizona this postseason with 402 pitches in the postseason. That sounds like a lot but this guy has been very impressive being able to use all of his pitches differently in each start throughout the postseason.
Arizona advances to the winner’s bracket to face Oklahoma State on Monday night. Miami moves to the loser’s bracket to face UC Santa Barbara to see who can avoid elimination.
Tomorrow’s game start at 3 PM ET with Texas Tech taking on TCU. Day 2 will end with the nightcap at 8 PM ET with Florida taking on Coastal Carolina.