Arizona's Wade dominates UCLA
Sophomore matches 40-year-old CWS mark with complete game
OMAHA, Neb. – Arizona has made a habit of tossing complete games. Staff ace Kurt Heyer leads the team with seven, but Konner Wade is quick on his heels.
The righthander tossed his second complete game in a row and fifth of the season to lead the Wildcats past conference-foe UCLA on Sunday night 4-0. It was the first shutout of Wade’s two-year career.
There’s no way anyone at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha could have saw that coming. During the regular-season meeting between the Pac-12 rivals in Tucson in April, Wade threw the farthest thing from a shutout. He lasted just three innings while allowing 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in a 15-3 loss against the Bruins.
A lot can change in two months. Wade didn’t walk a batter while striking out four batters and allowing just five hits in the CWS.
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Since 1972, only two pitchers have tossed a complete-game shutout at the CWS without issuing a walk and both competed for Arizona schools. Arizona's Konner Wade did it Sunday against UCLA, while Craig Swan did it 40 years ago for Arizona State against Temple.
“I got hit pretty hard the last time I pitched against them,” Wade said. “And I knew they took advantage of the mistakes I made that game. I was really eager for the opportunity to throw against them [Sunday], and I was going to try to keep the ball down in the zone and I let my movement take care of it.”
It’s no easy task to shut down the potent UCLA lineup. Only one team had found a way to shutout the Bruins all season – Oregon State on April 21 in a 3-0 Beavers' victory.
Wade made some College World Series history in the process. He became the first player to throw a complete-game shutout without a walk at the CWS since Arizona State’s Craig Swan on June 14, 1972. In that game, Swan blanked Temple on two hits with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
It was also the 100th shutout in CWS history and the 79th complete-game shutout. The last came in 2011 by Kent Emanuel of North Carolina on June 20 against Texas.
“I felt good the past three weeks or so,” Wade said. “I felt comfortable with the movement I've had. Feel like I'm starting to get more of a bearing how much it is moving. And I just tried to work out of arm's way let it work back over the plate.”
UCLA head coach John Savage agreed.
“We had our way with him, I don't know, a month and a half, two months ago, whatever it was, and he really, really pitched well [Sunday],” Savage said. “No walks, I think he
had four strikeouts. We rolled over all night. And really a credit to him. Really have to tip my hat. He pitched as well as anybody we've seen all year. I'm not sure when the last time we've been shut out. Really gotta give him credit. We weren't ourselves, but it had a lot to do with him. We were uncharacteristically impatient. And that's what good pitchers do. And at the end of the day I thought he really made pitch after pitch.”
Wade moved to 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in three NCAA tournament starts this season. He has tossed 26.0 innings during that stretch with just two walks.
Not bad for a guy who entered Sunday’s start with a 4.49 ERA this season.
BATTER UP: Florida State’s top three hitters in the lineup – third baseman Sherman Johnson, second baseman Devon Travis and centerfielder James Ramsey – combined to go 7 for 13 with six runs scored, six RBI, three doubles and a home run in the Seminoles’ 12-2 win against Stony Brook on Sunday.
In FSU’s opening loss against Arizona, the trio went 4 for 15 with just one run scored and one RBI.
Johnson’s two-run double in the sixth gave him 29 RBI in 26 NCAA tournament games, including 10 in seven postseason games this year. His two runs scored on Sunday gave him 34 in his NCAA postseason career and 14 this season.
“Sherman, of course, has been our lead off hitter all year,” Martin said. “He does a great job. He's a very patient guy. He had a couple of knocks, and of course the double was big to drive in a couple of runs.”
Travis has now scored 21 runs in 22 career NCAA tournament games, while Ramsey improved his career batting average in the postseason to .366 (34 for 93).
QUICK HITS: Florida State pitcher Mike Compton leads all Division I freshman with 12 victories, the first freshman to reach the mark since TCU’s Matt Purke went 16-0 in 2010. Only nine Division I freshmen have reached the 12-win plateau since 2002 … Despite Stony Brook’s 0-2 mark in the CWS, the Seawolves lead the nation with 52 wins and are currently the only program in the country to reach the 50-win plateau in 2012 … Arizona head coach Andy Lopez claimed his 400th victory at the school (now 400-246-1) with the Wildcats’ 4-0 win on Sunday … Arizona’s Robert Refsnyder extended his streak of reaching base safely to 36 games with a single in the fourth inning against UCLA. He has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games.