OMAHA, Neb. -- As one South Carolina center fielder nears full strength at the College World Series, another is seemingly going in the opposite direction.
Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner revealed Friday that sophomore Evan Marzilli, as hot as any USC player to end the regular season, tweaked a hamstring during practice Thursday. Marzilli had evidently played through a strain of the muscle during the season, even though he didn't miss any games.
Tanner didn't seem to think Marzilli's injury was too serious early in the day Friday, but, after watching him during practice, he said he would not have been able to play if USC had a game.
The team will practice this afternoon at Creighton University, and Marzilli's progress -- or lack thereof -- will be closely monitored.
If Marzilli cannot play Sunday night against Texas A&M, Tanner would have a few options. Freshman DeSean Anderson has played some. Adam Matthews would normally be a strong candidate, though he hasn't played in the field since April because of his own hamstring injury.
Keep an eye on Jackie Bradley Jr. The junior, out since April 24 with a wrist injury, looked much more fluid in batting practice Friday. If the preseason All-American continues on the current track, Tanner said he could at least get a look for Sunday.
"Everything's starting to feel comfortable now," said Bradley, hitting just .259 at the time of the injury. "We'll see what happens."
Happy to be here
Virginia was down to its final out Monday against UC Irvine before rallying for two runs and a super regional victory.
"You could probably sit there and say maybe they deserve to be here," Cavaliers coach Brian O'Connor said. They were one strike away from coach Gillespie sitting in this seat instead of me, but sometimes that's baseball. I'm so proud of our guys that we were able to figure it out and win that ballgame and get back here."
O'Connor is bringing the Cavaliers here for the second time in three years, meaningful since he played on the 1991 Creighton team that reached the CWS. That team will actually be honored this weekend, since it's the 20-year anniversary of the hometown team appearing in the event.
Because he is from Omaha, O'Connor understands too well the devastation of the Missouri River flooding. He said he was crushed as he flew into town and saw the flooding from the air.
"I felt really, really sad," O'Connor said. "Just to see all the farmland around the airport all washed away and everything, it's terrible for the people here.
"I know fortunately we'll be able to get the College World Series in, but you just feel terrible for those people. It's not going anywhere."
Happy to be here, Part II
Before the season began, Cal didn't know if it would have a baseball program in 2012. The administration had done away with the team until donors raised nearly $10 million to save the Bears.
Now they're in Omaha.
"It's been just quite a ride," Cal coach David Esquer said.
With the event now at TV-friendly TD Ameritrade Park, the College World Series is expected to have a bigger presence on ESPN.
There are 17 in-game cameras being used, including an eye-in-the-sky cam that looks out beyond the walls of the stadium all the way to the Missouri River. ESPN added its K-Zone and X Mo (super slo-mo) Replays from its popular MLB telecasts.
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