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The Arizona Wildcats and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers must wait another day to celebrate a potential national championship.
The deciding Game 3 of the College World Series was postponed until Thursday at 10:08 a.m., Tucson time, because of inclement weather. Arizona (49-23) will attempt to win its fifth NCAA title in school history while Coastal Carolina (54-18) is going after its first championship.
Arizona coach Jay Johnson was originally slated to start Bobby Dalbec in Wednesday night’s scheduled game. Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore opted to start Alex Cunningham (10-4, 3.64 ERA) instead of ace Andrew Beckwith (14-1, 1.94).
Both coaches said (in video above) they have not determined if a change will be made with the starting pitching assignments.
“We’ll see, obviously haven’t made a determination at this point, but we’ll see,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore added the reason why he wanted to start Cunningham instead of Beckwith on Wednesday was Cunningham’s experience as primarily a starter while Beckwith has more appearances as a reliever this season. With that logic, expect Cunningham (17 starts in 21 appearances this year) to be the starter in the Thursday morning game.
Beckwith has only nine starts in 25 appearances this season. Two of the starts were complete-game victories over Florida and TCU in the College World Series.
Wildcats senior 2B @codyyramerr: “I’ve got one more day to wear the Arizona uniform. It feels good.”
“If we would have played it tonight, I was hoping to get at least three (innings) out of AC and then go with Beckwith,” Gilmore said. “AC never really been a closer, never been a bullpen guy.
“As a bullpen guy you may come in and try to get out of someone else’s mess. He just hasn’t had that opportunity. We just felt like we’d be better to have Beckwith if (Cunningham) got in trouble we can go to him, he’s used to that type of insertion into a game with guys all over the place.”
In terms of Johnson’s pitching plans, he told reporters, “We’ll look at it.”
Dalbec (11-6, 2.65) last pitched on Saturday in a 5-1 win over Oklahoma State in an elimination game. He is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his two College World Series starts, both against Oklahoma State.
Arizona ace Nathan Bannister is a possibility but nobody with the Wildcats has mentioned he is ready to take the mound after leaving last Friday’s game early (2 2/3 innings) against Oklahoma State because of stiffness in his right pitching forearm.
Regardless of the postponed game and Arizona having to play in the morning hours, Tucson time, Johnson is confident of his team’s mindset. When asked about how he viewed his players coming into the deciding game, Johnson answered, “Hall of fame.”
“I love these guys,” he said. “I think they’re great competitors. The one thing I trust is their state of mind.”
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.