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Cocks One Win From Second National Title

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Cocks One Win From Second National Title

Post  Carolina Kat on Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:14 am

Gamecocks Take Game One, 2-1 in 11 Innings
Carolina One Win Away From Back-to-Back National Titles

June 27, 2011

For the second straight game, the Gamecocks used a pair of throwing errors to score the winning run in extra innings, as South Carolina outlasted the Florida Gators, 2-1 in 11 innings, in the first game of the best-of-three College World Series Championship Series on Monday night in Omaha.

With one out in the 11th, Christian Walker, who was playing with a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist, singled up the middle. With Walker attempting to steal second base, catcher Mike Zunino's throw sailed into centerfield, allowing Walker to scramble to third. Centerfielder Bryson Smith's throw then bounced past the third base bag and into the stands, allowing Walker to score the go-ahead run.

Florida (53-18) got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning without the benefit of a hit. Tyler Thompson led off the inning with a walk, was sacrificed to second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Cody Dent's sacrifice fly.

The lead lasted until the eighth when the Gamecocks (54-14) finally got to Gator starter Hudson Randall. Peter Mooney led off with a walk, moved to second on Robert Beary's sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on Evan Marzilli's fly to center and scored on Scott Wingo's clutch two-out RBI single up the middle.

The Gators wasted a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. With John Taylor on the mound for Carolina, Zunino opened the inning with a walk. After failing on two sacrifice bunt attempts, Brian Johnson laced a single to right field, advancing Zunino to third. John Adams was intentionally walked to load the bases with no one out. With the infield pulled in, Wingo made a diving stop on Tyler Thompson's grounder and threw to the plate to nail Zunino for the first out. Daniel Pigott then bounced into a 4-2-3 inning-ending double play, sending the game into extra innings.

Both teams had a chance to score in the 10th. The Gamecocks had runners on first and second with one out before Nick Maranda, the fourth Gator hurler, worked out of the jam. The Gators nearly plated the winning run in the bottom of the frame when Zunino singled to left, but Jake Williams gunned down Dent, who was trying to score from second base, to end the threat.

Taylor worked two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win and improve his record to 8-1, while Maranda (0-1) was tagged with the loss. Matt Price worked around a leadoff single in the 11th for his 19th save of the season.

Forrest Koumas, the Gamecock starter, was effective in his first experience at the College World Series. He worked 5.2 innings, allowing just three hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts. The freshman hurler, who was making his first appearance since a four-inning stint against Stetson on June 5, threw 86 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Randall, the Gators' sophomore right-hander, allowed just three runners through the first seven frames - a first-inning double by Christian Walker, an infield error on a ball hit by Adrian Morales in the second, and a fourth-inning single by Morales. He left the contest after tossing 7.2 innings in which he surrendered just three hits and one run with one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches, 56 for strikes.

The Gamecocks have now tied NCAA records with 15 consecutive postseason wins and 10 consecutive wins in the College World Series.

The Gamecocks are one win away from back-to-back National Championships. They will take on the Gators in game two of the best-of-three series Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 8 p.m. ET and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Carolina Kat
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