OMAHA, Neb. — What's the College World Series without a little drama?
Texas and Arizona State provided plenty of dramatics in their bracket final showdown Friday night at Rosenblatt Stadium, with the Longhorns providing the epilogue to a dramatic 4-3 win over the Sun Devils to reach the best-of-three championship finals.
Texas will face LSU in what should be an exciting clash of the titans, made possible with the Tigers' 12-5 rolling over fellow SEC foe Arkansas in the first bracket final game of the day.
While exciting for LSU fans, the opener lacked the late-inning dramatics of the nightcap, which saw the Sun Devils break a 2-2 tie with a two-out triple in the ninth, only to see the top-seeded Longhorns counter with a pair of two-out solo homers in the bottom of the ninth to beat Arizona State for the second time in the 2009 College World Series and earn a trip to the finals.
Arizona State got on the board first when the hot-hitting Kole Calhoun — the author of a six-RBI night just 24 hours earlier against North Carolina — slapped a single to center, scoring Jason Kipnis.
Texas answered in the bottom of the inning when Michael Torres led off the inning with a solo shot to right field, but Arizona State came right back in the top of the fourth when Drew Maggi singled home Zack MacPhee with a single up the middle.
Texas tied it up in the bottom of the fifth on Travis Tucker's single to center, and the game stayed tied until the decisive ninth inning.
Kipnis led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second quickly to get into scoring position. He came home easily when Zach Wilson sent a shot down the line in right field for an RBI triple, putting the fifth-seeded Sun Devils in position to force a second game in the double-elimination tournament on Saturday.
After Brandon Loy struck out to open the bottom of the ninth, Cameron Rupp smacked a homer to center to tie the game. A foul pop-up gave Texas two outs in the inning, setting up the dramatic finish by Connor Rowe, who homered to left field to send the Longhorns to the finals and send the Sun Devils home with a heart-breaking loss.
Both teams got great pitching, as starters Mike Leake and Cole Green each pitched six solid innings for the Sun Devils and Longhorns, respectively. Austin Wood scattered three hits and struck out two in the final three innings to get the win, while Mitchell Lambson struck out five and allowed just two hits in a losing effort, but both were the home runs that sent Texas to the win.
LSU never let Arkansas get into the game in the first bracket final of the day. Twelve Tigers got at least one hit as they pounded out 16 hits and broke the game wide open with five runs in the seventh inning to cruise to the finals.
The Tigers, who have outscored their opponents 32-11 in three College World Series games, hit four more home runs to bring their tournament total to nine. Blake Dean and Jared Mitchell hit solo shots in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, and Ryan Schimpf and Tyler Hanover added bombs of their own to fuel the rout.
While the LSU bats were pinging, LSU's Anthony Ranaudo was dominating the Arkansas bats. He allowed just four hits in six innings while striking out five and walking none. He had good command throughout the day and left the final three innings up to the Tiger bullpen. Arkansas simply couldn't get it going, in spite of a 3-for-5, 3 RBI day by left fielder Chase Leavitt, and were denied a chance at forcing a second game on Saturday.
The best-of-three championship series for the 2009 College World Series is now set, as the top-seeded Longhorns meet the third-seed Tigers for the title. There are 11 CWS championships between these two outstanding programs, and they will kick off the series Monday night at 6 p.m. at Rosenblatt Stadium. The second game of the series will be played Tuesday night at 6 p.m., and if a third game is needed, that will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m.
It should be a fantastic championship series, and you can get your College World Series tickets right now at Ticket Express — where no College World Series game is ever sold out.
College World Series Schedule, Results
(All times CDT)
Saturday, June 13
Game 1 – Arkansas 10, Cal State Fullerton 6
Game 2 – LSU 9, Virginia 5
Sunday, June 14
Game 3 – Arizona State 5, North Carolina 2 (10 inn.)
Game 4 – Texas 7, Southern Miss 6
Monday, June 15
Game 5 – Virginia 7, Cal State Fullerton 5 (CSF eliminated)
Game 6 – LSU 9, Arkansas 1
Tuesday, June 16
Game 7 – North Carolina 11, Southern Miss 4 (Southern Miss eliminated)
Game 8 – Texas 10, Arizona State 6
Wednesday, June 17
Game 9 – Arkansas 4, Virginia 3 12 inn. (Virginia eliminated)
Thursday, June 18
Game 10 – Arizona State 12, North Carolina 5 (North Carolina eliminated)
Friday, June 19
Game 11 – LSU 12, Arkansas 5 (Arkansas eliminated)
Game 12 – Texas 4, Arizona State 3 (Arizona State eliminated)
Monday, June 22
Championship Game 1 – LSU (54-16) vs. Texas (49-14-1), 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 23
Championship Game 2 – LSU vs. Texas, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 24
Championship Game 3 – LSU vs. Texas, 6 p.m. (If necessary)