South Carolina beats Oklahoma 5-0 to move within one win of the College World Series
COLUMBIA – South Carolina is just one win away from the College World Series.
Behind a strong performance from senior pitcher Michael Roth, who was making his final start at Carolina Stadium, the Gamecocks beat Oklahoma 5-0 on Saturday night in their NCAA tournament Super Regional opener.
If USC wins Sunday at 7 p.m., it will advance to its third consecutive College World Series. The Gamecocks won the last two national championships. If Oklahoma wins Sunday, the teams will play a decisive game Monday night at 7.
The scheduled starters for Sunday are USC junior Colby Holmes and Oklahoma sophomore Jonathan Gray.
On Saturday, the Gamecocks took a 3-0 lead by scoring in three distinct ways in the second inning, on three consecutive batters – Nos. 6, 7 and 8 in the lineup. LB Dantzler ripped a double to the right-center field gap, Erik Payne sprinted home from third on a wild pitch to Tanner English, and Chase Vergason looped a sacrifice fly ball that scored Dantzler.
Roth pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed six hits, all credited as singles, and no runs, while striking out three and walking two. He entered the game with a 1.25 earned-run average in eight previous NCAA tournament starts.
USC has won 20 consecutive NCAA tournament games – five better than the previous record – dating to a loss to Oklahoma in the first game of the 2010 College World Series. The Gamecocks, now 4-0 in this tournament, have won 23 consecutive NCAA tournament home games dating to 2002.
They are trying to become just the second team to ever win three consecutive national championships, and the first since 1974, when Southern California won its fifth straight.
But first, they are angling for their 11th College World Series appearance and sixth in 16 seasons under coach Ray Tanner, who brought them to the Series from 2002-04.
USC is 25-1 in the NCAAs since the beginning of the 2010 tournament, with its only loss coming to Oklahoma.
Entering this weekend, the Gamecocks had advanced in 17 of their 19 NCAA tournament rounds at their home ballpark. On Sunday night, they’ll try to make it 18 of 20.