The streak continues.
South Carolina has now won 20 straight postseason games dating back to 2010, and they’re also now just one win away from punching their ticket back to Omaha.
Senior pitcher Michael Roth started for the last time at Carolina Stadium, and the night couldn’t have gone much better for him. Roth threw 7 2/3 innings of shut out baseball in which he gave up only six hits and walked only two batters. He struck out three.
Roth also obviously earned the win, improving to 7-1 on the season. He received a well-deserved thunderous ovation and curtain call when he was done, and I suspect there were many less-than-dry eyes in the house (I went through a tissue or two at home).
Tyler Webb finished off the game, pitching a perfect 1 1/3 innings. He held the Sooners hitless and K’d two of the four batters he faced.
Oklahoma starter Jordan John took the loss and lasted only two innings. He gave up three runs on two hits, tallied one walk, and struck out two. His record drops to 8-8 for the year. Dillon Overton came on in relief and did a very solid job, allowing two runs on six hits. He issued no walks and struck out six Cocks.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, USC jumped all over John in the second. Adam Matthews walked to lead off the inning, and Erik Payne singled to get Matthews all the way to third. With runners on the corners, LB Dantzler doubled to bring Matthews home and move Payne to third.
Dantzler advanced on a Tanner English strike out, and Payne scored on a wild pitch. A sac fly from Chase Vergason brought Dantzler across the plate to make it 3-0 Yardcocks.
The Sooners threatened to get on the board in the fourth, after Roth hit Cody Reine and walked Jack Mayfield, but they left the runners stranded. Both pitchers did an excellent job of keeping things under control, but Carolina would finally get to Overton in the seventh.
With one out, Vergason singled and then stole second. He came home to score on a two-out RBI single from Joey Pankake. Evan Marzilli laid down a bunt single, and then Christian Walker laced an RBI sinclge to get Pankake acorss the plate. That would be the end of the scoring for the Cocks, but it was more than enough.
South Carolina outhit Oklahoma 8-6, and each team had one error. Marzilli led the Gamecocks at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Mayfield led the Sooners, going 1-for-2. No OU players recorded more than one hit.
After the game, Sooners coach Sunny Galloway called Roth’s victory “poetic justice” and applauded the environment at Carolina Stadium. Ray Tanner called Roth’s performance “special”, and Roth thanked the fans via twitter and said he was happy with the way his career turned out:
“Up until my junior year, I was still convinced that I was a position player,” Roth said. “Things just work out like they’re supposed to happen. I’ve had a great career here. Hopefully it’s not over after this weekend.
I’d be lying to you if I tried to tell you it was just another game for me. There was something special about tonight. I’m glad to leave on a high note.”
Carolina has now won 23 straight NCAA Tournament games at home and is 12-0 at Carolina Stadium. The Cocks improve to 44-17 overall and are now one win away from making their third straight trip to the College World Series. With the loss, the Sooners fall to 42-24 on the year.
Tomorrow’s game is set to begin at 7 ET and will be televised on ESPNU/ESPN3. Colby Holmes will start for USC and Jonathan Gray will get the nod for OU.
To read things from a Sooners perspective, check out Amanda’s coverage on Ride Schooner, Ride!