South Carolina won their super regional against Oklahoma and is on their way to Omaha for a third straight year.
Game 1: USC resumed their normal rotation this weekend which meant ace Michael Roth was on the hill on Saturday night. Roth did what we’ve all come accustomed to Roth doing: he was great. He walked two and only struck out three, but he didn’t allow a run and pitched deep into the 8th inning.
Oklahoma’s starter didn’t fare as well. Jordan John worked a perfect first, but he ran into trouble in the second. He issued a lead off walk to Adam Matthews. Erik Payne followed with a single, and L.B. Dantzler followed with a double to score Matthews. A wild pitch scored Payne, and Dantzler came home on Chase Vergason’s sac fly. When the inning was over, John’s day was as well.
Oklahoma brought their third starter into the game, Dillon Overton. Luckily for the Gamecocks he didn’t start because he was excellent. He pitched 4 shutout innings before running into trouble. The Gamecocks plated two insurance runs in the 7th. Chase Vergason singled, and was driven in by Joey Pankake’s hit. Pankake was then driven in by Christian Walker’s hit to extend the lead to 5-0.
In the 8th, Roth sat down two Sooners before giving up a hit. Tyler Webb came in and struck out the first batter he faced. Webb then worked a 1-2-3 9th inning to preserve the win.
Game 2: This game will always be remembered as the rain game. South Carolina and Oklahoma didn’t complete a half inning before the rain started. One might think the rain would make it difficult to grip the baseball and pitch, but if that was the case, no one told the starting pitchers. Colby Holmes was on the mound for the Gamecocks, and he was opposed by Jonathan Gray.
Gray allowed only 3 hits, and he didn’t allow more than one in any one inning. Holmes allowed only one hit. This is the second game in a row he’s only allowed one hit. Both pitchers were dazzling, but they weren’t able to pitch until their natural limits because the game was halted after 5 innings.
After an hour delay, the game resumed and Gray pitched his last inning. USC couldn’t score any, and as soon as the third out was recorded the game was halted again for rain. The teams picked up the next day at 4 pm.
On Monday afternoon in front of a diminished crowd that cheered greater than its numbers, play resumed. South Carolina sent Tyler Webb out to work. Webb worked around an error and two walks to keep the game tied at 0.
South Carolina’s offense came to life against the Sooners’ closer, Daniel Okert. Connor Bright led off with a double. A Tanner English sacrifice bunt bunt was horribly defended and USC scored one and had another runner on second. A proper sacrifice moved English to third where he scored on a wild pitch. USC 2-0.
When Webb walked the lead off batter of the next inning, Jerry Meyers, the pitching coach brought Evan Beal in. When Beal walked the next batter, it was Price time.
Matt Price came in for his last appearance in Carolina Stadium. Oklahoma tried an aggressive double steal, and the lead runner was gunned down by Dante Rosenberg at third. A single ensued, and the shut out was over. Price then struck out the next batter and induced a fly ball to end the inning.
The 8th inning brought more insurance. With two outs and two runners on, Tanner English bunted for a hit and an RBI. The squeeze bunt was pushed up the first base side, and English was too fast to be caught. Chase Veragaon then brought two more home with a double. USC 5-0.
In the ninth inning of his last game at Carolina Stadium, did anyone expect Matt Price to falter? Of course, he didn’t. He induced a fly ball for the first out, and Joey Pankake made a great play deep in the hole for the second. After a walk to build dramatic tension, Matt Price ended his USC home career like he should have. He stuck out the last batter.
Stars of the Series…Michael Roth, W, 7.2 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K…Colby Holmes…5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K…Matt Price…S, 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K…Tyler Webb, W, 2.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 K…L.B. Dantzler…3-8, 2B, RBI…Chase Vergason…2-3, 3 RBI, 3 SAC, 2B, SB, BB…
This and that:
* South Carolina is now 45-17 on the year.
* South Carolina has now won 24 straight NCAA games at home
* South Carolina has won 21 straight NCAA games overall, a NCAA record
* South Carolina will have the chance to extend its NCAA record of 11 CWS wins in a row
* South Carolina has won all 13 Regional games at Carolina Stadium
* South Carolina is 26-1 in the tournament in the last 3 seasons
* Matt Price is now tied for the SEC Career lead in saves with 41
* South Carolina is 1st #8 National Seed to make it to Omaha since 2008
Off to Omaha, stay tuned as the Gamecocks look for No. 3.