5 Keys and a Prediction for USC vs. ASU

ray_tannerThe South Carolina Gamecocks and the Arizona State Sun Devils square off at 4:30pm EST in a “do-or-die” CWS elimination game.  Winner will advance to play loser of OU Sooners and Clemson Tigers and the loser gets first flight home.

For South Carolina there is work to do but the goal of winning is attainable.  ASU will be a tough ball club to defeat but it can be done if these 5 keys are executed by USC…

1.  SC needs to score first – For a number of reasons but I feel most importantly for their confidence.  The loss to OU was tough to stomach and better to bounce back eager out of the gate than to let the game drag on with no run production.  The Gamecocks are 23-2 when scoring in the first inning and 32-6 on the year when scoring first.

2. “Super” Sam Dyson much be stellar – His last outing was his worst as he lasted just one and one-third innings and gave up four earned runs before being removed and turning the game over to the bullpen vs. CCU.  This cannot happen as ASU is very dangerous.  Seven ASU everyday players have batting averages of .300 or higher and their team batting average is .338.  So they can hurt you is what I am saying.  Dyson has to be Nolan Ryan like today.  In his hands is the fate of USC.  For the season, Dyson is 5-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 89.0 innings pitched. He has 93 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .259 against him.

3.  USC gets production with RISP– This is easy as when you have a scoring opportunity do not blow it.  Run production is key.  USC has to score runs today to win and it can not been just a HR or two.

4.  USC “Wins Each Inning” — Coach Tanner must coach this game like it is the last and manage each situation.  Throw everything at ASU you got.

5.  USC plays like it is the last game — USC needs to show controlled emotion today.  Don’t let one bad play kill the spirits, stay positive and focus on winning today.  Carpe Diem!

ASU is good, no doubt, but they are beatable.  The Sun Devils will come out hot and looking to scorch the ball but USC must battle today as a victory can be had.  The same pholosphy is in play as it has been all season for USC – timely hitting and defensive pitching will win games for USC.

I see South Carolina winning today.  Call me a ‘homer’ but I think they are looking for something to prove.  I think either USC wins big or wins in dramatic fashion.  Say a 8-5 win?

About flounder

Two-time grad of THE University of South Carolina.