Some facts and figures about the David vs. Goliath College World Series.
Arizona has won the College World Series four times and can tie in-state rival Arizona State with its fifth title this year. Each of the past four times the Wildcats reached the championship game, they left Omaha with the trophy.
Arizona’s Jay Johnson is the fifth coach to lead his school to the College World Series championship in his first year. The last to do so was Danny Hall with Georgia Tech in 1994. The trend does not bode well for Johnson, as the previous four all lost in the finals.
Arizona reached the best-of-three championship round with some of the toughest pitching in College World Series history. The Wildcats have allowed six runs in five games in Omaha, or 1.2 runs per game. Before this season, only four teams had allowed fewer than 1.5 runs per game for the tourney.
Coastal Carolina is the first school to reach the title round in its first trip to Omaha since those 1994 Yellow Jackets. And Coastal is also the first team from its conference – the Big South – to not only make the College World Series but play for the championship. Coastal has won 53 games this season, the most in Division I and second most in school history. If the Chanticleers take home the championship, they’ll match their highest win total ever and become the first school since in-state rival South Carolina in 2011 to win the crown after reaching the finals with more than 50 victories.
Coastal has hit 95 home runs this season, the most in Division I in the six years since BBCOR bats were adopted and power numbers dropped dramatically. Four Chanticleers have at least 15 home runs this season, while no other team in the nation has more than two players with that many round-trippers.
Coach Gary Gilmore has won 1,098 games in 27 seasons as head man at South Carolina-Aiken and Coastal Carolina. He’s looking to become the sixth active coach with 1,000 wins and a national championship.
It also could be a very big month for Coastal Carolina, as alumnus Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open golf championship a week ago. Barring rain-outs, the College World Series will be over by the end of June.