The College World Series has seen more than its share of impressive pitching displays during the five decades at Omaha, Nebraska. While every year brings effective pitching performances, these stand out as the most impressive pitching displays in the College World Series.
3) Miami’s Grand Illusion
Mike Kasprzak makes the list of the most impressive pitching displays in College World Series history for a single, fake pickoff attempt. During the 1982 College World Series, Kasprzak was on the mount for the Miami Hurricanes against the Wichita State Shockers. In sixth inning with Miami up by a run, Kasprzak faked a pickoff throw to first base with the ball hidden in his glove.
The Hurricanes first baseman dove after the illusory ball, the right fielder scampered towards the line, and the Miami players in the dugout pointed at right field. The Shockers baserunner, having dived back to the bag, got up and ran to second base after assuming the pickoff throw had sailed into the right field foul territory.
Kasprzak tossed the ball to the shortstop, who easily tagged out the baserunner.
This play, which is arguably the greatest pickoff play in baseball history, propelled Miami to its 1982 national championship.
2) Arlin’s 20 in 15
During the 1965 College World Series, Steve Arlin was on the mound for the Ohio State Buckeyes facing the Washington State Cougars. Despite a stifling heat and heavy regular season innings-count, Arlin pitched 15 innings for a complete game victory. Even more impressive was his College World Series record 20 strikeouts during the game.
The following year, Arlin lead the Buckeyes to a return trip to the College World Series and the national championship. Arlin was later named tournament MVP.
Arlin’s 20 strikeouts remains a single-game College World Series record
1) Winfield runs out of gas
Prior to his Hall of Fame career in Major League Baseball, Dave Winfield was the leader of his Minnesota Golden Gopher team that reached the College World Series in 1973. During a second round game against the USC Trojans, Winfield took a one-hit, 15 strikeout gem into the ninth inning with his team up by seven runs.
Having pitched a complete game, six-hit shutout in his previous start, Winfield ran out of gas in the ninth. After surrendering four runs, Winfield moved to the outfield and watched as Golden Gopher relievers blew the remaining three run lead.
Winfield fell one inning short and watched helplessly from left field as Minnesota was eliminated from the tournament.