MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Coastal Carolina, Arizona stay alive at College World Series

Rematches on tap Saturday; Winners advance to championship series

Coastal Carolina, Arizona stay alive at College World Series

OMAHA, Neb. -- Andrew Beckwith tossed his second complete game in six days Friday night -- and the second of his college career -- keeping Coastal Carolina's season alive with a 4-1 win over Texas Christian at the College World Series. The junior right-hander's first complete game came in the Chanticleers' Omaha opener as he beat No. 1 national seed Florida, 2-1, with a seven-hitter.

Beckwith threw 137 pitches against TCU -- the most in a CWS game since Cal State Fullerton's Ricky Romero had 139 in 2004 -- and found the strike zone with 101 of them. He became the first pitcher with two complete games in one Series since Arizona's Konner Wade four years ago, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out five. He held the Horned Frogs scoreless until senior center fielder Dane Steinhagen homered in the eighth inning.

"Andrew was absolutely incredible," Chanticleers coach Gary Gilmore said. "I can't say enough about him. I think I would have had to hit him with a brick to get him to come out of the game. I was trying to take him out in the eighth. He wouldn't come out. I didn't want to see him out there in the ninth and he just wasn't going to have any part of it."

Beckwith improved to 14-1 with a 1.94 ERA, giving him the most wins in NCAA Division I this season. The Big South Conference Pitcher of the Year doesn't wow scouts with his stuff -- he went undrafted two weeks ago -- but it confounds college hitters. He switches between three-quarters and submarine arm slots, repeatedly delivering strikes with sinkers and sliders.

"I just felt like I had all my pitches," Beckwith said. "I've pounded the strike zone, low in the strike zone."

Beckwith usually pitches in the low 80s when he comes from down under and in the mid-80s from his higher slot, though he threw harder in the last two innings against the Horned Frogs, reaching 88 and 89 mph a few times. TCU got better swings and made harder contact against him than did Florida, which had 17 groundouts on Sunday, but still couldn't manage more than one run.

"It's pretty amazing, but honestly, you guys are just seeing this past week. We've watched him do this for three years now," said senior left fielder Anthony Marks, who drove in the game's first run with a sacrifice squeeze in the second inning. "His numbers speak for himself. If he's not the best pitcher in the country, he's one of the best pitchers in the country. It's fun to play defense for him because he's filling up the strike zone, letting the defense work. We've got his back like we know he's got our back."

Beckwith's effort means that Coastal Carolina (52-17) and TCU (49-17) will meet again Saturday night to determine which team heads to the best-of-three championship series beginning Monday. The probable starters are junior right-hander Alex Cunningham (a 28th-round pick by the Tigers) for the Chanticleers and freshman righty Jared Janczak for the Horned Frogs. Janczak struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against Texas Tech on Sunday, while Cunningham took a 6-1 loss against TCU on Tuesday.

Arizona 9, Oklahoma State 3

Arizona picked up a 9-3 win on Friday against Oklahoma State. (AP)

Arizona faced a daunting task on Friday afternoon. To stay alive at the College World Series, it had to beat an Oklahoma State team that hadn't trailed in any of its seven NCAA playoff games and had allowed a total of six runs in those contests.

The Wildcats were up to the task, taking an immediate lead on sophomore DH J.J. Matijevic's RBI single in the top of the first inning and cruising to a 9-3 victory despite having ace Nathan Bannister unexpectedly exit in the third inning with tightness in his arm. Arizona (47-22) improved to 5-0 in elimination games during the NCAA tournament and forced a rematch with the Cowboys (43-21) on Saturday, with the winner of that game advancing to the best-of-three championship series that starts on Monday.

Senior right fielder Zach Gibbons, who went 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBIs, said he believed the Wildcats would overcome their latest challenge because they've handled adversity throughout the season.

"All year we've been counted out, picked to finish ninth or 10th in the Pac-12," said Gibbons, a 17th-round pick of the Angels. "We weren't supposed to come out of the regionals. I feel like when we get on the field, we have to prove everyone wrong. We're going to go out and grind, and if they get us, they're going to get us at our best."

The bottom of Arizona's lineup was at its best against Oklahoma State, with sophomore center fielder Jared Oliva, freshman catcher Cesar Salazar and junior shortstop Louis Boyd combining for four hits, six runs and two RBIs. Salazar and Boyd each doubled to spark a two-run second inning that gave Bannister a three-run lead that looked like it would be more than enough as he retired the first eight batters he faced, five by strikeout.

But Bannister (28th round, Mariners), who started games three days apart in the NCAA regionals and leads Division I with 142 1/3 innings, felt tightness in his arm on his next pitch and exited after issuing a walk. Junior right-hander Kevin Ginkel (22nd round, D-backs) finished the third but gave up two runs in the fourth, so the Wildcats turned to sophomore lefty Cameron Ming for the fourth time in four CWS games.

Ming was as sharp as Bannister, pitching four perfect innings while Arizona put the game away with two runs in the eighth and three in the ninth. By the time the Cowboys touched him for a run on two hits and two walks in the bottom of the ninth, it was too late.

"He can make the ball go down and away with the two-seamer or spin it underneath you with a slider, and he'll flash a changeup," Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said of Ming, who earned his third NCAA tournament save. "He looks like a pretty poised kid, knows his way around out there. He's a good competitor."

Saturday's likely pitching matchup features a pair of junior right-handers selected early in the 2016 Draft, Oklahoma State's Thomas Hatch (third round, Cubs) and Arizona's Bobby Dalbec (fourth round, Red Sox, as an outfielder). Hatch spun a five-hit shutout against UC Santa Barbara in the CWS opener, while Dalbec struck out 12 in eight innings but lost 1-0 to the Cowboys in the second round.

Saturday's games
Oklahoma State at Arizona, 3 p.m. ET
Texas Christian at Coastal Carolina, 8 p.m. ET

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.