It was a night of celebration on Sunday, June 13 for the No. 5 Arizona baseball team at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats crushed No. 12 Ole Miss 16-3 to win the Tucson Super Regional and advance to the College World Series. Our full game recap can be found here.
Here are five notes that explain the dominating performance Arizona had against Ole Miss.
Hitters gonna hit
Boasting the second-best offense in the league, it is no surprise when Arizona catches fire, yet it is still very entertaining. After a lackluster outing the night before, the Wildcat offense exploded for 20 hits against the Rebels. Arizona also added 16 runs to go along with those 20 hits. Center fielder Donta’ Williams scored more runs himself (four) than the entire Ole Miss team (three) combined. With eight of the starting nine hitters for Arizona batting over .300, it is hard for any team to stop the Wildcats from hitting.
Donta’ Williams, aka Mr. Reliable
No matter where you look or what inning it is, Williams is somehow involved. In Sunday night's matchup, Williams went 3-4 with one double, one RBI and four runs scored. Williams also had two walks, so in six at-bats Williams reached base five times. For the Tucson Super Regional, Williams batted .571 with two home runs, six RBI’s and seven runs scored. What should scare opposing teams is that Williams is Arizona’s leadoff hitter. That means pitchers will face him more than any other hitter, and when your leadoff guy is putting up those kinds of numbers you an intentional walk sounds like a good idea.
The “Three B’s”
While designated hitter Jacob Berry and first baseman Branden Boissiere are used to batting next to each other, third baseman Tony Bullard was inserted into the cleanup spot behind Boissiere for the first time in the postseason. It was the beginning of the “Three B’s,” and oh boy was it a successful experiment. The three hitters combined to bat .438 with one home run, 10 RBI’s, six runs scored and three doubles. It was particularly refreshing to see Berry and Boissiere get going, seeing as how both had very quiet postseasons till this game. With those two finally finding their stride and Bullard adopting the mantra of “Mr. June,” do not be surprised if the “Three B’s” show up again in Omaha.
Arizona has been known for offense, but not always defense. Overthrowing the ball, botched double plays and misfielded grounders were a part of almost every ball game for the Wildcats. When it has counted most though, the Wildcats locked down their defense. In the entire Tucson Super Regional, Arizona only committed one error. To show how much they have improved, Arizona had four errors total in the Tucson Regionals. Reducing your errors by three may not sound like much to some people, but the reality is one error could cost you three runs. The bottom line, every error counts and Arizona is trending in the right direction.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming
Not only were the starters lighting up the stat sheet, but so were the pinch hitters and runners. Over the course of the three-game series, Arizona’s pinch hitters and runners scored in three of their four plate appearances. In the playoffs you will take any run you can get, so with bench players contributing runs, it is hard to find any weaknesses in the Arizona roster.
Arizona will face defending champion Vanderbilt in round one of the College World Series on a date to be determined.
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