June 28, 2011
OMAHA, Neb. — The South Carolina Gamecocks rode the stellar pitching of Michael Roth to defeat the Florida Gators, 5-2, and sweep the best-of-three College World Series Championship Series Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha in front of an announced crowd of 26,721. The win gave the Gamecocks back-to-back National Championships in Division I College Baseball. South Carolina finished 10-0 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament (3-0 in Regional, 2-0 in Super Regional, 5-0 in MCWS) becoming the first team to go 10-0 in NCAA Tournament play in one season.
The Gamecocks, who entered the tournament as the number four national seed, have now established NCAA records with 16 consecutive postseason wins and 11 consecutive wins in the College World Series. While in Omaha, South Carolina defeated Texas A&M, number one seed Virginia twice, and number two seed Florida twice without a loss. Carolina becomes only the ninth repeat champion in MCWS history and first since Oregon State in 2006 and 2007.
“It’s difficult to put into words what we’ve experienced in the last few days and having been at Rosenblatt last year and having the good fortune of closing that out and getting an opportunity to come to T.D. Ameritrade this year was very special,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner . “Of course you get here, you want to win a game or two and we’ve really played some great baseball while we were here and it’s hard for me to understand it all right now. I’ll have to let it sink in a little bit. I want to take a moment to recognize Coach O’Sullivan and the Florida Gators. What a great team, what a tremendous team, classy organization. They play the game the right way. You never like to lose games but you like to play people like the Gators and Coach O’Sullivan because you get after it and you play the game the right way. You can rest assured; he’ll be back in Omaha time and time again. Our players, they’ve made it happen between the lines. They made plays. They made pitches. They got bit hits. They always felt they had a chance to win. They believed. I thought they did a tremendous job of keeping baseball in perspective. We never thought that we were an awesome time; we just thought we were good enough to win at times. When the opportunity would present itself, we could try to find a way late in the game to win some games. And not often we go double-digit hits or double-digit runs but these guys believed they could win and they got in position to do that a lot.”
The Gamecocks (55-14) broke out in front in the bottom of the third inning when they sent eight men to the plate, scoring three times off Florida starter Karsten Whitson (8-1). Peter Mooney led off the frame with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on Robert Beary’s sacrifice bunt. After Evan Marzilli walked, Scott Wingo lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Mooney with the game’s first run. After Jackie Bradley Jr. walked, Christian Walker’s bouncer to short eluded Nolan Fontana and rolled into centerfield for an error, allowing Marzilli to score and sending Bradley to third. Brady Thomas chopped an infield single over the pitcher’s mound, scoring Bradley Jr. and putting Carolina on top 3-0.
Florida (53-19) answered with a single run in the top of the fourth. Mike Zunino led off the inning with a home run over the left field wall. The solo blast was his team-leading 19th round tripper and just the third home run allowed by Roth all season. Zunino had three of the Gators’ six hits on the night.
The Gators had chances to get closer when they put their first two batters on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Roth was able to work his way out the jams unscathed.
South Carolina got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Mooney crushed a 3-1 offering from reliever Tommy Toledo into the Gator bullpen beyond the right field wall for his fourth home run of the season, giving the Gamecocks a 4-1 advantage. Mooney’s round tripper was the only home run hit by the Gamecocks in their five-game stay in Omaha.
Florida cut the deficit to 4-2 with a run in the top of the eighth. Zunino doubled to center off Roth and scored on John Adams’ two-out single off reliever John Taylor, but Matt Price caught pinch-hitter Tyler Thompson looking to end the uprising.
Carolina came right back with one of its own in the bottom of the frame. Beary singled to center, moved to second on Marzilli’s sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Wingo’s bouncer to right over the pulled-in infield.
Roth (14-3) was lifted after 7.2 innings of work. The junior southpaw allowed just five hits and two runs with two walks and six strikeouts. He threw 127 pitches, 77 for strikes. In 38.1 innings of work over the past two years at the College World Series, Roth has posted a 1.17 ERA, second-best all-time. Price worked the final 1.1 innings for his 20th save of the season. That 20th save ties for second on South Carolina’s single-season list. He is also now tied with Rob Mosser (1990-93) for the career record at Carolina with 30 saves.
For the season, Roth now ranks on South Carolina’s single-season charts in ERA (2nd, 1.06), starts (T1st, 20), Innings (3rd, 145) and wins (T5th, 14). Roth’s 14 wins ties for the national lead with his ERA second nationally.
As a team, South Carolina finished with a 1.31 ERA in 10 NCAA Tournament games. The Gamecocks’ bullpen finished 6-0 with five saves and a 0.53 ERA in 33.2 innings of work in the NCAAs and did now allow an extra base-hit the entire tournament.
South Carolina had six players that made the 2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Men’s College World Series All-Tournament Team. Catcher Robert Beary, first baseman Christian Walker, second baseman Scott Wingo, shortstop Peter Mooney, designated hitter Brady Thomas and pitchers Michael Roth and Matt Price.
Wingo was named Most Outstanding Player as well. Wingo hit .333 over five games in the series with four RBI including three in the finals and also made several stellar defensive plays throughout the CWS. He has now been hit by 63 pitches in his career, extending his own school mark. Wingo finishes his career having appeared in 254 career games, one shy of South Carolina’s school record (255 Michael Campbell (2003-06).