College World Series notes: Walker keeps playing despite swelling
OMAHA, Neb. — South Carolina first baseman Christian Walker’s fractured left hand was significantly swollen Tuesday after playing 11 innings Monday night, but the team’s leading hitter was still in there for the second game of the College World Series finals against Florida.
Walker did not take batting practice on the field with his teammates, and he also didn’t go through fielding drills.
Despite learning early Monday that he has a broken hamate bone in his left hand, Walker still played Monday night and went 2 for 4, scoring the winning run in the 11th inning.
Entering Tuesday’s game, Walker was batting .356 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs.
He reached on an error in the third Tuesday that plated USC’s second run. Walker singled in the fifth. He finished with two hits in the game.
Making a correction
Out of nowhere Monday, Texas baseball said on its Twitter account that it actually held the record for consecutive NCAA tournament victories with 15 in 1983-84. The NCAA had said during the entire College World Series that the record of 13 in a row was held by Southern Cal (1972-74) and LSU (1997-98). With the victory Tuesday night, the Gamecocks surpassed Texas’ record with their 16th straight win.
South Carolina ace Michael Roth had not allowed a home run since April 22, but Florida catcher Mike Zunino took him deep to start the top of the fourth inning. Roth had allowed just three home runs in the previous 1401/3 innings this year. Florida’s Karsten Whitson had hit just three batters in 922/3 innings entering Tuesday’s start, but he hit Scott Wingo in the first and Jake Williams to begin the fourth.
Dent brings his bat
Cody Dent was put in the lineup at the end of the regular season to shore up Florida’s defense at third base.
The sophomore has given the Gators a good glove and unexpected offensive production.
The son of former major leaguer Bucky Dent was batting just .163 when he replaced Zack Powers on May 20. He’s batting .300 since. His .364 average in four CWS games was second on the team entering Game 2 of the finals, behind Bryson Smith’s .400.
Dent has a double and triple, he’s beaten out a bunt for a single and had the sacrifice fly for Florida’s only run on Monday.
“Just been trying to put good at-bats together, not be an easy out,” Dent said. “I do whatever I can to get on base, work the pitcher, do my job at the time whether it’s moving the runner over or moving them in.”
Taking it for the team
Second baseman Wingo was hit by a pitch in the first inning by Whitson. It was the 62nd time in Wingo’s career that he’s been hit. The senior set the school record during the middle of last season.
Wingo has been hit five times in the College World Series, tying a CWS record.