June 23, 2012

CWS Results & Schedule

CWS Capsules

CWS First-time Appearances

NCAA Interactive Bracket


CWS Championship Series Notes

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder



Game 1: #8 South Carolina vs. Arizona, 7 p.m. CT

Game 2: Arizona vs. #8 South Carolina, 7 p.m. CT

Game 3: Arizona vs. #8 South Carolina, 7 p.m. CT (if necessary)


This will be the first meeting between Arizona and South Carolina.


The Gamecocks, under head coach Ray Tanner, are looking for their third straight national championship after beating UCLA in 2010 and Florida in 2011. The only other program to record at least three consecutive titles is USC, which captured five in a row from 1970-74.


“We're excited to be invited to the Ray Tanner Invitational,” said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez. “We're excited to be a part of this weekend. And what Ray's done, Ray and I have been friends for a long time. I have nothing but respect with what he's done at South Carolina. My God, it's an amazing thing they've done.


“Really excited to be a part of it and going to try to go out and play good baseball and make it a good weekend. And, again, it will be a great moment for one program, and for the other one it should be a great moment as well. It really should. Excited to be a part of it and real thankful we've been blessed to be a part of this thing.”


Lopez won a national championship in 1992 with Pepperdine. He is looking to join Augie Garrido as the only head coaches to win national titles with two different schools. Garrido guided Cal State Fullerton to crowns in 1979, 1984 and 1995 before leading Texas to titles in 2002 and 2005.


South Carolina is the first team to play in three straight finals since Texas won in 1983 and finished second in 1984 and 1985.


“We're excited to be here,” Tanner said. “And Coach Lopez and I have known each other for a long time. I have the utmost respect for him as a baseball coach and person. And normally when we get together we have a good time, great conversation, and our teams get after it the best we can. And he has a great club.  And we're looking forward to the opportunity, and hopefully it will be a great championship series.”


Along with its two championships, South Carolina has been runner-up three times, falling to Texas in 1975, Arizona State in 1977 and Texas in 2002.


Arizona has won three titles (1976 over Eastern Michigan, 1980 over Hawaii, 1986 over Florida State) and finished second three times (losing to Minnesota in 1956, Oklahoma State in 1959 and USC in 1963).


These teams represent the top two conferences in national titles. The Pac-12 leads with 15 titles, while the SEC is second with nine crowns. The SEC has claimed the past three championships, with LSU winning in 2009 and South Carolina taking the past two.


“What I enjoy about SEC baseball,” said Robert Refsnyder of Arizona, “and especially South Carolina, they play the game of baseball right. They get after it. They try to take the extra base on the base path and play sound defense. And what they do really well, in my opinion, offensively with two outs and a guy on second base, they do a really good job getting them in. They just play baseball great, and I'm sure the brand of baseball they want over there. They've been executing it the past couple years. It's going to be a great match‑up between Pac‑12 and SEC, because every day I feel like the Pac‑12 is trying to get up to the point where the SEC is today.”


This will be the fourth match-up between the Pac-12 and the SEC for the national crown. Arizona State edged South Carolina 2-1 in 1977, LSU nipped Stanford 6-5 in 2000 and South Carolina took two from UCLA in the 2010 championship series, 7-1 and 2-1 in 11 innings.


Arizona had five players taken in the first 10 rounds of the 2012 MLB Draft:

SS Alex Mejia (4, St. Louis), OF Robert Refsnyder (5, NY Yankees), RHP Kurt Heyer (6, St. Louis), 3B Seth Mejias-Brean (8, Cincinnati), OF Joey Rickard (9, Tampa Bay).


South Carolina also had five players selected in the 2012 MLB Draft:

1B Christian Walker (4, Baltimore), RHP Matt Price (7, Baltimore), OF Evan Marzilli (8, Arizona), LHP Michael Roth (9, LA Angels), OF Adam Matthews (29, Cincinnati).