South Carolina traveled to the beach to take on Coastal Carolina in the Super Regionals over the weekend. The Gamecocks won both games by scores of 4-3 and 10-9 to eliminate the Chanticleers and advance to Omaha.
Breaking it Down…See Flounder’s write up of Saturday’s win here. On Sunday USC sent Sam Dyson to the hill. He gave up a solo shot in the top of the first before South Carolina got 2 runs on back to back to back hits by Marzilli, Merrifield and Bradley Jr. in the bottom of the first. Dyson was chased from the game in the Coastal second after giving up a total of 4 runs on 4 hits. He would not be the last Gamecock pitcher to have trouble. Jose Mata came in and got out of the inning but not before surrendering a run of his own to make the score CCU 5 USC 2.
South Carolina ate into the Coastal lead in the third thanks in part to 2 Coastal errors. Those errors were accompanied by Matthews’ 2 run double. Matthews would later score himself to tie the game. All of the Gamecock runners and runs came with 2 outs in the third. Coastal would answer with a single run in the top of both the fourth and the sixth innings to take a 2 run lead.
In the bottom of the sixth the Gamecocks scored 2 to tie the game on a Nick Ebert RBI single and a Chanticleer error. As the Chants were piling up errors (they would have 5 in the game), the Gamecocks were burning through pitchers. After Dyson and Mata pitched Steven Neff and John Taylor made appearances for 1/3 and 2 innings respectively. Michael Roth and Ethan Carter each gave up a run in the seventh and eighth innings to make the score 9-7 Coastal going into the bottom of the eighth.
The eighth started out promisingly when Robert Beary walked but took a dour turn when Whit Merrifield grounded into a double play. After falling behind in the count, Jackie Bradley Jr was able to draw a walk, and Adrian Morales doubled on the first pitch he saw to put runners at second and third. When Christian Walker came to the plate, he was fed a steady diet of curve balls on the outside corner. When one of the curve balls caught too much of the plate, Walker drilled it over the left field wall to give the Gamecocks the lead 10-9.
After Adam Matthews struck out to end the inning, Matt Price came in to try to end the game. Price struck out Coastal shortstop Taylor Motter on 5 pitches. Motter didn’t swing at any of them. Daniel Bowman then flew out to right field before Rich Witten grounded out to the sure handed Bobby Haney at short to send the Cocks back to Omaha.
What to take from the weekend…This series epitomizes what this Gamecock team has been about all season: no matter what, no matter how, find a way to win. On Saturday it was clutch pitching; on Sunday it was clutch hitting. The team isn’t always overpowering at both, but it usually has enough of both to win. They have cemented themselves in history as one of the Top 10 best USC teams of all time. What will happen in Omaha is anyone’s guess, but fans should be proud to have this team representing their University there.
Stars of the series…Blake Cooper picked up his 12th win by going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5…Matt Price earned Saves for both games by pitching 3 innings of no run, one hit, four strikeout baseball…Christian Walker was 4 for 10 with a game winning home run and 5 RBIs…Bobby Haney was 4-6 with a double and 2 runs…Jackie Bradley, Jr. was 3-6 with a double and 2 RBIs.
This and that…South Carolina advances to its 9th College World Series, 13th most all time…The Gamecocks improve to 46-15 on the season…On Sunday 7 of the 10 USC runs came with 2 outs…Coastal hit 4 home runs over the weekend to South Carolina’s 1…Coastal committed 5 errors to South Carolina’s 0…Both Coastal and South Carolina used 11 pitchers over the weekend.
Up next…South Carolina treks out to Omaha to play the winner of the Charlottesville Super Regional between Virginia and Oklahoma. The College World Series begins on Saturday at 4:30. Check back with Leftoverhotdog for previews and updates of the 2010 College World Series.