The Arizona baseball program reached the College World Series Championship in Omaha this week with an undefeated run though Bracket 1. The Wildcats have a storied baseball history, three-time winners of the NCAA Championship. But they have not won since 1986, and manager Andy Lopez's program has struggled to keep pace with the immensely successful and popular women's softball team in Tucson.
According to Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen, a momentary bout of apathy even caused one reporter to ask Lopez last year if he thought the baseball program would be on the chopping block when the Athletic Department and University reviewed their budget. But that fleeting question gave way to an invigorated program this year, as both Lopez and AD Greg Byrne moved baseball games off-campus to Hi Corbett Field. Attendance skyrocketed and the Wildcats play on the field matched the enthusiasm as they earned a host site for both Regionals and Super Regionals. While Lopez's team does not boast a top-tier MLB Draft prospect, they've come together to put on a fabulous run to be one of the last two teams standing.
Arizona will try to capture their fourth title against South Carolina on Sunday night in the first of a best-of-three series.