Roth Shuts Down Kent State, USC Survives 4-1
Omaha, NE (USC SID) -- The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes, 4-1, in elimination game on Thursday afternoon at the College World Series. With the win the Gamecocks (47-18) advance to play Arkansas in a 9 p.m. ET contest Thursday night.
The Gamecocks rode the stellar pitching of senior left-hander Michael Roth. Roth, who tied the NCAA records for career starts at the College World Series with seven and wins with four, and established a record with the most innings pitched in College World Series history, improved his record to 9-1 on the season. He went the distance, allowing two hits and one run with no walks and eight strikeouts while throwing 106 pitches. He retired the final 22 batters he faced in order.
“I just try to go out there and give the team a chance to win,” said Roth. “I guess I've been saving all my complete games for the postseason. But it's nice, and I'm glad we have the opportunity to just keep playing. It (was) the best command that I’ve had in a long time.”
The Golden Flashes (47-20) broke out on top with a run in the top of the second inning. George Roberts led off with a single to right, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Sawyer Polen’s single to left. Those would be the only two baserunners of the game for Kent State.
The Gamecocks came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Adam Matthews and Kyle Martin stroked back-to-back singles. After Tanner English struck out, Grayson Greiner singled off the glove of Polen behind the third base bag. When the ball rolled away into foul territory, Matthews was able to beat the throw to the plate to tie the score at one. Chase Vergason followed with a single to right, plating Martin with the Gamecocks’ second run.
Carolina increased its lead in the bottom of the third inning. After Christian Walker belted a two-out double into the right-centerfield alley, LB Dantzler crushed a two-run homer over the right field bullpen, his 10th round tripper of the season, giving the Gamecocks a 4-1 advantage.
The Gamecocks finished the game with seven hits and left seven runners on base.
Kent State starter Tyler Skulina (11-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on six hits with four walks and nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work.
“I thought it was going to be a pitching duel to the very end,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “We were fortunate in the second and third inning, we got a two-out run, and a two-out base hit, and Dantzler homers after the double in the third. (Michael) Roth was very special today. He has been many, many times. Last night I told him we need you to stay out there for a long time. He picked a great time to give us a complete game and gave us a chance to rest in the bullpen. A tremendous outing by Roth and we get a chance to play again.”
The Gamecocks will look to avenge Monday night’s 2-1 loss to Arkansas when the two teams get together later tonight. Arkansas will be the home team. The Gamecocks would need to defeat the Razorbacks tonight and again on Friday night to advance to the championship round of the College World Series.
“(Arkansas is) on a roll,” added Tanner. “They've got momentum they’re in the winner's bracket. Fant is a guy that's had some good ones in his career, and he's going to come right at us. He's rested and ready to go. We're playing one of the favorites now, certainly, with them being undefeated on our side. So there is a lot of work to do. They played really well the other night, and we've just got to go back and rest fast and get ready to go again.”
South Carolina Game Notes
*-South Carolina has allowed four runs or fewer in all eight of its NCAA Tournament games this season. The only other teams in this year’s field to allow four runs or fewer in every game are Prairie View and Rice, neither of which made it out of regionals.
*-The Gamecock pitching staff closed the game with a 1.68 ERA (75.0 IP, 14 ER) in the NCAA Tournament, including a 1.21 mark by the bullpen. South Carolina’s relief corps has fanned 29 and allowed just 11 hits in 22.1 innings this postseason.
*-South Carolina enters the game undefeated this season when scoring in the first inning (18-0), when scoring 7 runs (20-0), when the game ends in a shutout (8-0) and when the final margin is two runs (8-0).
*-South Carolina’s 28-2 (.933) record over the past three seasons in the NCAA Tournament is the best three-year postseason record in NCAA history (must make tournament at least two out of three years to qualify). The second-best mark belongs to Miami (FL), which went 22-2 (.917) from 1999-01.
*-South Carolina has now won five straight MCWS elimination games dating back to the 2010 MCWS.
*-All of South Carolina's four runs and five of the Gamecock's seven hits came with two out.
*-Starter Michael Roth continued his streak of seven consecutive quality starts dating back to May 11. In 11 career NCAA Tournament starts, Roth is 8-0, pitching 5.0 innings each time and never allowing more than three earned runs.
*-Roth became the first pitcher to throw a complete game with two hits or less allowed since June 6, 1993, when Mike Fontana (Long Beach State) threw a two-hitter against Kansas in a 6-1 victory.
*-Roth retired the final 22 Kent State batters he faced following the RBI single by Polen in the second inning.
*-Roth has a 1.34 career ERA in the MCWS (sixth all-time among pitchers with 30.0 innings, entering game), allowing just eight runs on 31 hits in 53.2 innings.
*-Roth made his ninth career MCWS appearance, tying him for sixth on the all-time list.
*-Roth's seventh start is tied for the most ever (J.D. Arteaga of Miami (FL) also started seven from 1994-97).
*-This was Roth’s 19th start of the season, tying for third-most in South Carolina history and second-most in the nation this year (behind Ty Blach of Creighton, who started 21 times).
*-Roth set the record for most career innings pitched at the MCWS with 53.2 innings, passing Steve Arlin of Ohio State (1965-66) and Greg Swindell of Texas (1984-85) currently hold the record with 47.0 innings apiece.
*-Roth is 4-0 in his MCWS career, he is tied him for the most wins in MCWS history (11 other pitchers have recorded four wins). He would be the first pitcher in MCWS history to have four career wins with at least one in three different seasons.
*-Roth has two career complete games in the MCWS; both have come in elimination games at the MCWS. The other was against Clemson on June 26, 2010. The last time a pitcher had two complete games was Jason Windsor (Cal State Fullerton), who had two complete games in the 2004 MCWS.
*-Roth is the just the fourth pitcher in MCWS history throw a complete game with two or fewer hits allowed and no walks. The others are Arizona State’s Craig Swan on June 14, 1972, against Temple (9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 SO), Missouri’s Dennis Musgraves on June 17, 1964, against Maine (9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO) and Carl Thomas of Arizona on June 12, 1955, against Springfield (9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 15 SO).
*-Christian Walker’s 23 career MCWS hits coming in tie him for third on the all-time list with Keith Moreland of Texas (1973, ’74, ’75).
*-Walker has 156 career putouts in the MCWS, second all-time to Daryl Arenstein of Southern California (191 from 1970-73).
*-Vergason’s run-scoring single gives him seven RBI in eight NCAA Tournament games this year. He had just five RBI in 42 games during the regular season in 2012.
*-After drawing a fifth-inning free pass, Vergason now has eight walks and just two strikeouts in the NCAA Tournament this year. Vergason has 10 walks and three strikeouts over his last 12 games dating back to May 19.
*-Grayson Greiner drove in his first run since May 6, a span of 18 team games.
*-Adam Matthews has now scored in seven of South Carolina’s eight NCAA games this season (eight runs total after his first run on Thursday).
Wind: 0 MPH
Humidity: 94 %