In their second game in Omaha the Gamecocks took on the #1 seed Virginia and won 7-1.
Breaking it Down…Virginia is a team who has been known for their two out production. The Gamecocks took a page from the Cavalier’s playbook in the first inning. With two outs and no one on base Christian Walker roped a grounder to third base. The third baseman couldn’t come up with the ball and was charged with the error. Jackie Bradley, batting in the clean up spot, stroked a double to right center field, and Walker came around to score. Adrian Morales drove in Bradley with a single to right field. Virginia tried to throw behind Morales after he took a big turn at first, and when they did, they threw the ball into their dugout advancing Morales to third. Brady Thomas, who had been moved down in the order, drilled a double to centerfield to make the score 3-0.
Colby Holmes took the mound in the bottom of the first needing to keep momentum on Carolina’s side. Although he hit one batter, he didn’t allow any hits or runs. In fact, he wouldn’t allow any of either until the fourth inning. Before that happened though, USC added another run in the third inning when Peter Mooney singled in Adrian Morales, again with two outs. They also added two runs in the 4th inning. Jake Williams led off with a triple. Evan Marzilli drove him in with a double, and Walker drove in Marzilli to extend the lead to 6-0.
In the bottom of the fourth Virginia got on the board with a solo home run to left. That would be the only scoring they got. They threatened in the fifth by loading the bases with one out. John Taylor entered and induced a 1-2-3 double play on his second pitch to end the game. Taylor then shut down the Cavaliers until leaving the game with two outs in the ninth. Matt Price took care of the final out. Robert Beary turned a lead off walk in the 8th into the final run of the game when Walker drove him in to make the final score 7-1.
Star of the Game…Many Gamecocks had good games, but John Taylor is our player of the game. Taylor came into the game at a key situation in the fifth inning. Virginia was threatening to get back into the game and steal back some momentum, but Taylor closed the door. The 1-2-3 double play that he induced was almost exactly the same as the one he induced against UConn in a similar spot in the super regionals. He then cruised the rest of the way. Taylor could have finished the game, but Coach Ray Tanner wanted to get Matt Price out of the bullpen for some work. Taylor earned the win with 4 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed only one hit and walked one but didn’t give up any runs. He threw only 34 pitches.
This and that…South Carolina improved to 52-14 on the year….The Gamecocks have now won all 7 games that they’ve played in the NCAA tournament….They have won 13 in a row dating back to last season…13 tournament wins ties the record held by Southern Cal (’72-’74) and LSU (’97-’98)…John Taylor made his 47th appearance of the year extending his South Carolina record and tying him for second all time in the NCAA. (The record is 51.)…Scott Wingo was hit by a pitch for the 60th time in his career…The Gamecocks left 11 men on base to Virginia’s 5…
Up next…South Carolina plays the winner of Thursday night’s Virginia-California match-up. A win sends USC to the championship series. A loss creates a winner take all rematch on Saturday night.