Sports

Arizona Wildcats Baseball Continues To Surprise By Reaching College World Series Finals

No one, probably including the University of Arizona's head baseball coach Andy Lopez would have predicted when the season started in February that the Wildcats would make it to the College World Series in Omaha.

But they did. And on Sunday night, Arizona will oppose either Arkansas or South Carolina in the first game of a best-of-three series to determine the best college baseball team in the land.

The Wildcats routed Florida State yesterday to knock the favored Seminoles out of the tournament--it was the second time that the teams had played at the College World Series, with Arizona winning both times. The win thrust Arizona into the championship round, a heady place for a program that mostly had been in the struggle mode for the better part of the last two decades. The Wildcats last played in the College World Series more than a decade ago, and last won the thing in 1986, well before any of the current players had been born. Konner Wade, a right-hander, will start for Arizona on Sunday afternoon, in a game to be televised by ESPN. Watching part of yesterday's game we couldn't help but think that the Tucson squad is every bit as good as either the Razorbacks or Gamecocks, powerful teams from the baseball-rich Southeast. We know it's gotta be killing ASU's baseball players, whose program was deemed ineligible for postseason play this season because of NCAA sanctions.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin