In a pretty improbable turn of events, the Arizona Wildcats baseball team is but one win away from a berth in the best-of-three NCAA College World Series championship round this weekend.
The Wildcats await the winner of tonight's elimination game in Omaha between the powerful Florida State Seminoles and the UCLA Bruins.
The extra day's rest (Arizona isn't scheduled to play until tomorrow night) should do wonders for the pitching staff, especially in light of the 12-inning opening round win over FSU during which Wildcat hurlers threw 139 pitches.
Arizona wasn't supposed to do this well, though head coach Andy Lopez brought his squad along slowly this season to where they are right now--undeniably one of college baseball's very best teams.
But it hasn't been easy, never is.
St. John's had Arizona down late in the first game of the best-of-three Super Regionals in Tucson before the Cats came back to steal an extra-inning win.
Then, in the opening game against heavily favored FSU, Arizona lost a 3-1 lead, but refused to fold.
Its pitching staff stood strong in yet another extra-inning contest that had the great ebb and flow commonplace at the College World Series--which is one of the nation's great amateur sporting events, in our opinion.
We must admit at this point to a bit of bias, being that we (by "we," we mean "I") are Wildcat grads and fondly recall the glory days when venerable head coach Jerry Kindall ruled the roost.
As we write, Arizona is but three very hard wins away from winning another national championship, its first in baseball since 1986.
Quite a change from the last decade or more, in which the once-proud program was relegated to the second tier of the Pacific-10 Conference as its in-state rival Arizona State flourished on the field.
Whatever happens, UA's baseball program surely is back--something long overdue.