JC Cloney pitched a four-hitter and Ryan Aguilar drove in two runs, leading Arizona to a 3-0 victory over Coastal Carolina in Game 1 of the College World Series finals on Monday night.
The Wildcats (49-22) can wrap up their second national championship in five years with a win Tuesday.
Cloney extended his scoreless innings streak at the CWS to 16. The junior left-hander pitched seven innings in the Wildcats’ 3-0 win over UC Santa Barbara last Wednesday.
Cloney (8-4) allowed four singles, walked three and struck out six in the second complete game of his career. The Wildcats scored in the first when Aguilar singled in Cody Ramer, who led off with a double. Aguilar added another RBI single in the seventh to make it 3-0.
Coastal Carolina (53-18) threatened in the ninth. Anthony Marks singled leading off and Zach Remillard bunted down the third-base line for a base hit on a close play. Connor Owings hit into a double play, and Cloney caught G.K. Young looking at strike three to end the game.
Arizona is back in the finals after having not made the NCAA Tournament in the three years after its 2012 national championship. It has been dominant on the mound, allowing only six runs in six games, with two shutouts.
Cloney was spot on with his location of a fastball in the 80s, a cutter and breaking ball. He induced 13 groundouts.
Arizona’s defense continued to come up big. Second baseman Ramer, playing in short right field as part of a shift in the fourth, sprinted to bare-hand G.K. Young’s grounder. His throw to first barely beat Young’s headfirst slide. Right fielder Zach Gibbons went with his back to the wall to catch Michael Paez’s deep fly to end the eighth inning.
Coastal Carolina starter Zack Hopeck (3-4) lasted 6? innings and threw 103 pitches, both career highs.
Hopeck was relieved by Cole Schaefer, who hadn’t pitched since June 6 in regionals. His second pitch was wild, allowing Cesar Salazar to take third, and Salazar scored on Gibbons’ sacrifice fly. Ramer, who had walked, moved up to second on the sac fly and came home on Aguilar’s base hit.