Arizona vs. South Carolina: Dramatic Finish Will Boost College Baseball

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2012

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 25:  Head Coach Andy Lopez #7 and Athletics Director Greg Bryne of the Arizona Wildcats hold the trophy in celebration of a 4-1 win and a 2-0 series sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 2 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Field on June 25, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

On the college sports totem pole, baseball does not get nearly enough recognition. Despite having a thrilling postseason, and an always dramatic College World Series, as evidenced by Arizona's triumph over South Carolina, the mainstream audience has been slow to develop. 

This year's College World Series was the perfect showcase for college baseball, and should provide the boost it so richly deserves. 

Part of the problem with trying to establish college baseball is the fact that regular season games are so hard to find on television. ESPNU does a good job of keeping college baseball in the social consciousness with an SEC Game of the Week every Thursday, but it is not enough. 

Thankfully, when the College World Series starts, ESPN takes over the broadcasting of the games. This is when everyone gets to see how great the game really is. 

Even if you only watched the Arizona-South Carolina series, or final game, you saw why this game is so special. These teams played one of the most tense, hard-fought games that you will see in any sport. 

With the game tied 1-1 entering the ninth inning, Arizona was able to breakthrough with three runs in the top of the inning to take a 4-1 lead. 

Just three outs away from its first championship since 1986, Arizona had to rely on a bullpen that was rarely used in the tournament because the starters were so good and had carried the team to this point. 

But South Carolina was able to load the bases with one out. Considering that the Gamecocks had won three elimination games in a two-day period last week, you just had the feeling they would pull the rabbit out of the hat one more time. 

Their magic ran out this time, as Tanner English's line drive to up the middle found Trent Gilbert's glove and Grayson Grenier flew out to end the game. 

It was as good and dramatic as any game in Major League Baseball, with the exception of the final day last season. College baseball has been a small blip on the sports radar for far too long. Arizona and South Carolina did their best to show the world why it is time to start paying closer attention to this sport all season.