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June 24, 2010

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College World Series Central

Post-Game Press Conference
12th Inning Highlights
Erin Andrews’ Post-Game Interview

OMAHA, Neb. – A pair of two-out RBI singles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brady Thomas erased a one-run deficit as South Carolina rallied for a dramatic 3-2 win over Oklahoma in 12 innings on Thursday evening at the 2010 College World Series. The Gamecocks advance to face Clemson on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on ESPN2HD and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at South Carolina is now 50-16 on the year while Oklahoma’s season ends with a 50-18 record.

It was a dramatic night at Rosenblatt Stadium with both teams battling back and forth with the result in question until the final play. After Oklahoma took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 12th on a solo home run by Tyler Ogle, the Gamecocks made their move as Robert Beary singled to open the frame and give the Gamecocks the tying run on the base paths. With two outs and Beary on second base in scoring position, Bradley battled Oklahoma closer Ryan Duke to a full count before lacing a RBI single past Oklahoma’s diving first baseman Cameron Seitzer to score Beary and tie the game. Jeffery Jones then walked moving Bradley into scoring position setting the stage for Thomas, who roped the first pitch he saw from Duke up the middle for a RBI single to win the game and setting off a celebration among the Gamecock players on the field.

Gamecock left-hander Tyler Webb earned the win in relief after one scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout. He is now 3-2 on the year. Ryan Duke suffered the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings. He ends his season with a 3-2 record.

“It was another great baseball game between the Gamecocks and the Sooners,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “The first time we met, it was a heck of a game and it really was the same thing tonight. It was a battle. We got a great start out of Blake Cooper. We just fought and they fought and we got out of a jam there early with a double play ball. We just kept scrapping and trying to stay in position to win. And it was late, but Jackie came up with a big hit and Brady hits one through the middle. It was an incredible win for us. Just never give up day. Charlie Peters, our buddy here in Omaha, we met back in 2003 at the Children’s Hospital, he came out early tonight. He had a little sign: Never give up. Battle hard. And I told Charlie, I said, if we win this game, it’s because of you. If we lose it, it’s because of me. And I thought I was going to have to shoulder it there for a while. But just a great game by both teams fighting hard. You hate to have anybody lose tonight, really. But I just kept thinking, you know, we lost a close one. Maybe now it’s our turn to win a close one. Very difficult to come by. But these guys battled and it worked out for us.”

Both Gamecock starting pitcher Blake Cooper and Oklahoma starter Zach Neal had quality starts and kept each of their respective teams in position to win the game. Cooper worked 5.2 innings allowing just one run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Neal lasted seven-plus inning and yielded one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. Cooper made his 19th start of the year, the most by any pitcher in the country. He has a 2-1 record with a 2.52 ERA in four NCAA Tournament starts with Thursday’s no-decision.

The Sooners broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the second inning. Ogle led off with a single and after a one-out walk to Cameron Seitzer would score on a RBI base hit to right center off the bat of Caleb Bushyhead. With runners on the corners, Carolina starter Blake Cooper escaped further damage as he was able to get Danny Black to ground out into a 3-6 double play limiting Oklahoma to just one run in the frame.

The Gamecocks looked to score in the bottom of the fifth inning loading the bases on a two-out walk to Kyle Enders, a double by Bobby Haney and a hit by pitch against Scott Wingo. Neal worked himself out of the jam as he was able to coax Evan Marzilli into fouling out to third baseman Garrett Buechele. Carolina would touch Neal for a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Evan Marzilli led off with a double off the wall in left field and scored on Christian Walker’s one-out RBI single.

The relief efforts by both teams was strong as neither team could muster the run until the dramatic 12th inning. Michael Roth worked 1.1 scoreless innings, John Taylor had one scoreless inning of relief and Matt Price had a strong three innings of relief with five strikeout for Carolina. Jeremy Erben was equally effective in four scoreless innings for Oklahoma as he allowed just two hits and one walk.

South Carolina finished with a 10-5 advantage in hits. Walker led the way with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Marzilli also had two hits. Ogle finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Oklahoma.

With Carolina reaching 50 wins, it is the fifth time in school history the school has reached 50 or more victories and the first time since the 2004 season. Bradley’s single in the 12th inning extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He is now 6-for-13 in the CWS; his seven RBI is the most by any player in the 2010 CWS. South Carolina is now 4-1 in extra inning games this year. South Carolina’s pitching staff finished with 14 strikeouts on the night, the 24th time this season that Carolina has struck out 10 or more batters.