CCU vs. Arizona
CCU vs. Arizona

CCU faces elimination after 3-0 loss to Arizona in Game 1 of CWS finals

Coastal Carolina has been in this position before during the College World Series.

That's the good news for the Chanticleers.

The bad news: CCU is again one game from elimination.

Arizona's JC Cloney pitched the first shutout in CWS finals history, holding the Chanticleers to four hits in a 3-0 victory Monday night in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series. It was the first time since March 8 that CCU was shut out.

"Hall of Fame performance," said Arizona's Jay Johnson, who could become the first head coach to win the CWS in his first season.

Meanwhile, CCU (53-18) is trying to become the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the CWS in its first appearance.

"I don't think we hit a ball square for the first six innings," said Chanticleers head coach Gary Gilmore. "I think they were more frustrated than anything trying to figure out this guy. ...

"I have to tip my hat to that young man. He was bigger than life today. He beat us pretty much by himself. That and they played great defense."

Game 2 is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET  at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

Surprisingly, Gilmore said Andrew Beckwith, who has been bigger than life for the Chanticleers with two complete-game victories in the CWS, will not start.

"Absolutely not," Gilmore said. "No shot."

He flashed some gamesmanship when asked who will start for CCU in Tuesday's game.

"They kinda didn't tell us today until game time," Gilmore said, "so they'll get the same thing from me tomorrow."

Beckwith, the Gregg Olson Award winner as Breakout Player of the Year, threw 137 pitches in CCU's 4-1 victory against TCU on Friday, his second complete-game victory in five days. In CCU's CWS opener last Sunday, he faced down No. 1 Florida, 2-1.

The good news for the Chanticleers is CCU has won three consecutive elimination games in the CWS. After a 6-1 loss to TCU, the Chanticleers beat No. 5 Texas Tech 7-5 and TCU back-to-back, including 7-5 on Saturday, to reach the championship series.

"We know where we're at," Gilmore said. "If we lose, it's over. At this point, we just want to play really aggressively, really hard and compete, play with a lot of confidence. I think Cloney took a little bit of that away from us. Three up, three down, three up, three down.

"Once we started getting them out three up and three down, those last three innings, we took a little bit better swings at him and the rhythm of the game came to us a little bit more. We just have to come back tomorrow. If they have another guy who throws every pitch where he wants too, it's gonna be tough to score again."

Starter Zack Hopeck kept CCU in Monday's game, allowing two runs and five hits in 6.1 innings. That gave the Chanticleers a chance to rally, which they threatened to do in the final two innings.

With CCU trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Tyler Chadwick led off with a single — the Chanticleers' second hit against Cloney. Two outs later, Michael Paez nearly missed a home run, flying out to deep right field,

"I thought I got enough of it," Paez said. "We never thought we weren't going to win this game."

In the ninth, Anthony Marks and Zach Remillard both singled but a double play and a strikeout ended the game.

"The game of baseball is a matter of inches here and there," Gilmore said. "That ball Paez hit ... if that ball's six inches further, it's out of the ballpark and all heck breaks loose. Who knows what happen.

"I'm just glad the kids didn't quit and we had a shot at the end."

Not done yet.

Chants/Cats run it back tomorrow at 7CT/8ET on @espn

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 28, 2016

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 28, 2016

Heading to the bottom of the 9th...

Down by 3...

Time for Rally #Fiki? #CWS

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 28, 2016

Still beautiful. #CCUinOMAHA

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 28, 2016

Way to battle, kid. #CCUinOMAHA

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 28, 2016

We've heard you all week, South Carolina. This one's for you. #CCUinOMAHA

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 27, 2016

Locked in? Locked in. #CCUinOMAHA

— Coastal Baseball (@CoastalBaseball) June 27, 2016

• Game highlights
• CCU’s College World Series Central

On the cover: Coastal Carolina takes the field for opening ceremonies at the College World Series Monday night. (Courtesy Coastal Baseball via Twitter)
Above: Video courtesy ESPN via WPDE and WPDE

Share This Story