Gamecocks Ready for Game 2 in College World Series
OMAHA, Neb. (USC SID) -- The University of South Carolina Gamecocks get ready for Game 2 Monday Night at 9PM against Arkansas.
This after USC defeated the Florida Gators, 7-3, in the first round of the College World Series, held at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska Saturday night.
The Gamecocks extended their NCAA record winning streak in the postseason to 22 straight games, including 12 in a row at the College World Series, in front of an announced attendance of 25,291.
"That was a great game," said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. "Hard-fought game, Roth and Johnson getting after it at the beginning of the game. We kept hanging around and had the big five-run fifth. We loaded them up, a couple of hits and a walk and Payne hit, I guess it was a two-strike pitch in the alley. It gave us a chance to get all three runs on the board. But anytime you play a team like the Gators and every pitch is a big deal. It was pretty much like that tonight. Even at the end of the game, we scored a few extras, but they were coming right back and they almost got the tying run up at the ( plate) at the end.
The Gators got on the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Justin Shafer and Vickash Ramjit stroked back-to-back singles to open the inning. The Gamecocks flashed some leather, as Michael Roth made a diving catch of Josh Tobias's sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out and Chase Vergason made a diving stop on a grounder off the bat of Nolan Fontana and flipped to Joey Pankake to force Ramjit at second for the second out. But Preston Tucker lined a double over Tanner English's head in left field, plating both runners for an early 2-0 Gator advantage.
Evan Marzilli led off the decisive fifth with a double to the right-centerfield gap, his second two-bagger of the game. Christian Walker followed with his second hit of the night, a single to left, putting runners at the corners. Adam Matthews walked to load the bases with no outs, setting the stage for Payne's bases-clearing triple to the right-centerfield wall. LB Dantzler followed with an RBI double to deep center, ending Gator starter Brian Johnson's night on the mound. Tanner English bunted Dantzler to third and Vergason capped the uprising with an RBI single to center. Johnson (8-5) worked four-plus innings, allowing eight hits and five runs, all earned, with three walks and five strikeouts.
"I was trying to keep my hand still and try to stay balanced and work the whole field," said Payne. "I got a fastball that I could drive and I slid a gap and I was fortunate enough that it fell."
Florida answered with a single run in the bottom of the fifth. Tobias singled to left and Fontana was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on base with no outs. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a ground out and Tobias scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Zunino, the third player taken in the recent MLB Draft, to cut the Carolina lead to 5-3.
The Gamecocks added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth, aided by some wildness from the Gator pitching staff and less than stellar fielding. Walker led off with walk, moved to second on Matthews' sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a wild pitch from Keenan Kish and scored on a wild pitch from Steven Rodriguez. Both Kish's and Rodriguez's wild pitches came with Payne at the plate. With two outs, Dantzler reached base safely when Rodriguez was unable to cleanly handle a slow roller. He moved to second on English's second single of the night and scored when Ramjit threw wildly to the pitcher covering first on Vergason's sharp grounder.
The fifth inning uprising for the Gamecocks came after they were frustrated early in the contest, wasting scoring chances in each of the first four innings and stranding a total of seven runners in that span.
In the top of the first, Marzilli reached on an error and Walker followed with a single to right. Both runners moved up a base on a double steal. Payne walked on four pitches to load the bases with two outs, but Dantzler struck out to end the frame.
In the second, Vergason stroked a one-out single to right and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dante Rosenberg, but Joey Pankake flied out to end the inning.
Marzilli led off the third with a double to the right field wall and advanced to third on Walker's fly to center, but Matthews struck out and Payne was retired on a fly to center to end the threat.
Dantzler led off the fourth inning with a single to center. English fouled off several offerings in an 11-pitch at-bat before coaxing a walk. Dantzler was forced at third on Vergason's sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out. Grayson Greiner made his first appearance in the postseason as a pinch hitter, but struck out looking. Pankake belted a deep fly ball to center that Daniel Pigott ran down to end the inning.
Gamecock starter Michael Roth (8-1) worked 6.1 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, all earned, with three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 98 pitches, 54 for strikes. Roth became the fourth pitcher to win a game in three different College World Series.
Southpaw reliever Tyler Webb relieved Roth and escaped a bases loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the seventh inning by retiring Tucker on a short fly to left then getting Johnson to line out to right.
Carolina closer Matt Price worked the final two frames, retiring six of the eight batters he faced, including three by strikeout. He was helped by Marzilli's spectacular diving catch on a sinking liner by Pigott leading off the bottom of the eighth. Price logged his 42nd career save, moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the NCAA's all-time list, and breaking the SEC record.
Carolina finished the night with a dozen hits off six Gator hurlers. They left 12 runners on base, putting runners on base in every inning except the eighth. Florida collected nine hits and left nine on base.
The Gamecocks (46-17) will return to action Monday night at 9 p.m. ET in a winner's bracket game against Arkansas (45-20). The Razorbacks were 8-1 winners over Kent State on Saturday afternoon. Florida (47-19) and Kent State (46-19) will play in an elimination game on Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET.
South Carolina Game Notes:
*-South Carolina is in the midst of a 22-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament and has won 12 straight at the MCWS. Both winning streaks are NCAA records.
*-South Carolina is making its 11th MCWS appearance. The Gamecocks are the two-time defending national champion.
*-The Gamecocks are attempting to become the first team since Southern California to win three consecutive MCWS. The Trojans won five consecutive titles from 1970-74.
*-South Carolina improves to 4-7 all-time in its opening game of the MCWS. The school had won just one of its eight previous MCWS openers.
*-South Carolina has a record of 27-1 over the last three years in the NCAA Tournament, the best three-year tournament winning percentage in NCAA history (must appear in tournament in at least two of the three years to qualify).
*-South Carolina's six MCWS appearances since 2002 are tied for the most of any school over that span (Texas also has had six).
*-The Gamecocks are 12-12 when their opponent scores first this year.
*-After giving up three earned runs in 6.1 innings, Michael Roth's ERA fell to fifth all-time in MCWS history (minimum 30.0 innings). He has allowed eight earned runs in 44.2 innings for a 1.61 ERA.
*-Roth made his sixth career MCWS start, second most in NCAA history. Only J.D. Arteaga of Miami (FL) has started more games in Omaha (seven from 1994-97).
*-Roth had recorded 10.1 consecutive scoreless innings prior to allowing the two runs in the third.
*-With the victory, Roth became just the fourth pitcher in history with a MCWS win in three different years ('10, '11 & '12). Roth was the victor in the 2011 championship game and in South Carolina's 5-1 win over Clemson in 2010. The others to accomplish the feat are Carl Thomas of Arizona (1954, ‘55, ‘56), Greg Widman of Southern California (1970, '71, '72), and Allan Westfall of Miami (1994, '95, '96).
*-The three earned runs allowed by Roth are the most he has yielded in a MCWS game, in this his eighth appearance.
*-Evan Marzilli's two doubles give him six at the MCWS, tying him for fourth on the all-time list. He now has 11 career doubles in the NCAA Tournament.
*-Christian Walker's two-hit day gives him 22 career hits at the MCWS, fourth-most on the all-time list (record is 28 by Dustin Ackley of North Carolina). Walker now has four two-hit games in his last five MCWS games.
*-South Carolina's five-run fifth and UCLA's five-run first on Friday are the most runs scored in one inning at the MCWS since TCU put up 8 runs on June 23, 2010, in the eighth inning of an 11-7 win over Florida State. Five runs is the most scored in one inning of the MCWS at TD Ameritrade Park.
*-South Carolina was 0-for-9 with RISP through the first four innings but 4-for-4 in the five-run fifth.
*-Erik Payne delivered the fourth three-run triple in the last seven years at the MCWS with his drive to the right-center field gap in the fifth. The only other three-run triples in Omaha since 2006 were by Texas A&M's Brandon Wood on June 19 of last season (first inning against South Carolina), TCU's Taylor Featherston on June 21, 2010 (seventh inning against UCLA), and Miami's Jon Jay on June 17, 2006 (eighth against Oregon State).
*-After Saturday's appearance, reliever Greg Larson has now given up zero runs in 13 of his last 14 outings (one earned run in last 16.1 innings overall).
*-After a 2-for-5 day on Saturday, LB Dantzler is batting .391 (9-for-23) in this year's NCAA Tournament.
*-With two hits in five at bats on Saturday, Chase Vergason is hitting .412 (7-for-17) in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
*-Reliever Matt Price's four career MCWS wins tie him for the most by any pitcher in MCWS history, while his 10 appearances place him third overall in the MCWS (13, J. Brent Cox - Texas 2003-05; 11, Rob Wooten - North Carolina 2007-08).
*-Price notched his third career MCWS save (in each of his last three outings in Omaha), tying him for sixth on the all-time list. He now has nine career games finished at the MCWS, tied for the most all-time with Rick Raether of Miami (1985, '86) and Huston Street of Texas (2002, '04).
*-Price extended his scoreless streak at the MCWS to 14.2 innings dating back to June 26, 2010. He has an ERA of 0.44 ERA in 20.2 career innings at the MCWS, placing him in a fifth-place tie on the career list (minimum 20.0 innings).
*-Price's save was his seventh this season requiring 2.0 innings or more (out of 12 total). Price has 15 career saves of 2.0+ innings.
*-The save was the 42nd of Price's career, putting him alone in eighth place on the Division I career list. He also broke a tie with Josh Fields of Georgia (2005-08) for the all-time SEC record.
*-South Carolina's bullpen has a combined 1.59 ERA in the 2012 NCAA Tournament (three runs allowed in 17.0 innings).
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