Coastal Carolina forces decisive Game 3 with Arizona in CWS finals

OMAHA, Neb. — Arizona got all it could have hoped for from Kevin Ginkel. What it didn’t get, at least not yet, is the national championship.

Connor Owings’ bloop RBI single off reliever Cameron Ming sparked a three-run eighth inning, and Coastal Carolina beat Arizona 5-4 on Tuesday night to send the College World Series finals to a deciding Game 3.

The Wildcats cut a three-run deficit to one in the bottom half off Bobby Holmes, but Holmes recovered to pitch a perfect ninth and set up a winner-take-all game Wednesday night.

"One thing we always talk about is that the team that deserves to win usually will," Arizona coach Jay Johnson said. "In this case, it was Coastal. They were a little bit better with runners on base tonight and wiggled out of some jams."

Ginkel matched Coastal Carolina’s Mike Morrison almost pitch for pitch. Ginkel struck out a career-high 10 in seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits.

"He was spectacular tonight and gave us everything he could and everything we needed," Johnson said.

Morrison was sensational in his first start of the season, helping the Chanticleers rebound from a 3-0 loss to the Wildcats in the opener.

"That was a whole lot of emotion going on out there, and it’s hard to describe it, having not been in that position before in my life," said Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore, whose program is in the CWS for the first time. "Our guys kept breathing pretty good, and we got through it."

The Chanticleers from Conway, S.C., will play the winner-take-all game for their school’s first national championship in any sport.

Arizona is going for its fifth national title in baseball, and second since 2012, in a season when it was picked to be one of the bottom teams in the Pac-12 in Johnson’s first year.

"It’s going to be a very exciting opportunity — two very good teams that have been playing well down the stretch," Owings said. "You can’t write it better than it is right now."

Owings — a recent Diamondbacks draft pick and the younger brother of D-backs infiedler/outfielder Chris Owings — was batting .125 (3 for 24) in the CWS when he stepped to the plate against Ming in the eighth. The Big South player of the year fought off a high inside pitch, sending it into short left field to drive in Anthony Marks from second base with the go-ahead run.

After Zach Remillard chased Ming (3-3) with a double, G.K. Young followed with a two-run single off Alfonso Rivas to give the Chanticleers a three-run lead.

"I just don’t think he was quite as sharp," Johnson said of Ming. "He didn’t want to come out of the game, which I love that about him. But he’ll be available and in the mix tomorrow for sure."

Arizona (49-23) made it a one-run game in the bottom half after Bobby Holmes (7-2) walked two straight to load the bases with none out. One run came home on Justin Behnke’s groundout, and another scored when shortstop Michael Paez bobbled Louis Boyd’s routine grounder.

With Coastal Carolina (54-18) running low on pitching, Gilmore turned to Morrison, his senior closer, to start a game for the third time in his career. Morrison responded with career highs of 6 2/3 innings, 103 pitches and 10 strikeouts. He allowed six hits and two runs and left to a loud ovation from the teal-clad Chanticleers fans.

"I put my heart and soul into this program for four years, and to end it like that, that was special," Morrison said. "That standing ovation was probably the coolest thing that’s ever going to happen in my entire life."

In 12 CWS games at TD Ameritrade Park (2012 and 2016), the Wildcats have outscored opponents 16-0 in the first inning. Leadoff man Cody Ramer has reached base to start the last four Arizona games, leading to five runs.

The Chanticleers are attempting to become the first team to win the championship in its first CWS appearance since Minnesota in 1956. The Chanticleers’ best finish in any NCAA team championship was fifth in men’s golf in 2007, when Dustin Johnson led the team.

Coastal Carolina and Arizona play a winner-take-all title game Wednesday night.