Walk-off grand slam punches UCSB's ticket to College World Series
No doubt UC Santa Barbara's Sam Cohen played out this scenario in his head before: bases loaded, down three runs, bottom of the ninth and the team's counting on you. Whether he ever imagined he'd live out every kid's backyard dream scenario by sending the UCSB Gauchos to their first-ever College World Series is another matter.
After defeating Louisville 4-2 on Saturday and inching one win closer to college's premiere baseball event, for much of Sunday it looked like the Gauchos would need to wait at least one more day to punch their ticket to Omaha.
SAM COHEN SENDS UCSB TO THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES WITH A WALK OFF GRAND SLAM pic.twitter.com/SVNhuzLBdU— #RoadToOmaha (@RoadToOmaha_) June 12, 2016
Scoring three runs in the top of the fourth inning, Louisville blanked UCSB for eight innings and were three outs away from pushing the series to a do-or-die third game. With the ninth inning starting out much the way the previous eight had gone - UCSB's Austin Bush struck out swinging to start the inning - Louisville appeared to salvage the right to play another day.
But a JJ Muno single followed by back-to-back walks brought a freshman pinch-hitter from JSerra High School to the plate with the bases juiced. The dream scenario had come to life.
Cohen, with only one homer to his name this season and down in the count 1-2, turned on an inside pitch sending it over the right field wall and sending his Gaucho teammates to their first appearance in the College World Series.
The Gauchos first appearance in the CWS begins in Omaha on June 28.