OMAHA, Neb. — The ideal situation for South Carolina in this College World Series would obviously be a win over Arkansas tonight, which would advance the Gamecocks to Thursday’s game. If they win that, they’d be in the best-of-three championship series.
Moreover, a victory over Arkansas would mean USC’s best pitcher, Michael Roth, could pitch on four days of rest after starting Saturday’s Series-opening victory over Florida.
But if USC loses tonight, it plays Wednesday, against the winner of tonight’s Florida-Kent State elimination game.
That would mean Roth would have to pitch on three days of rest.
He has done it twice in his career, with positive results both times. In 2010, he started the championship-clinching game against UCLA and threw five innings, following a complete game against Clemson. In 2011, he again started the title-clincher, against Florida, and threw 72/3 innings, after throwing seven in his previous start, against Virginia.
Roth said he would be comfortable throwing on three days of rest if his coaches are “willing to let me go.” They are, especially since he threw just 98 pitches in 61/3 innings against Florida. In the regular season, Roth got six days off between starts.
“I’d be comfortable as long as he’s comfortable,” said pitching coach Jerry Meyers. “The way he works in between (starts) and always has, he’s usually good to go by the third day anyway.”
Greiner feeling good
Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner returned against Florida after missing the entire NCAA tournament to this point with a left knee injury. He hadn’t played since May 25 against Florida in the SEC tournament.
Greiner’s rust showed, as he went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk. He is usually a much better hitter than his replacement, Dante Rosenberg, but might USC coach Ray Tanner go with Rosenberg tonight because of Greiner’s initial struggles? Tanner said that he hadn’t decided on a starting catcher yet.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen a live pitch, so I felt like the pitcher was right on top of me,” Greiner said. “Getting to see that was definitely good, even though the results were obviously not what I had hoped for.”
He was, however, encouraged by how his knee felt Sunday morning.
“I felt good,” he said. “I thought I might be a little bit sorer, but I wasn’t. I really didn’t feel anything at all. I kind of expected to, but I didn’t. That’s definitely a good sign.”
This and that
USC’s 12 consecutive wins in the College World Series are two better than the previous record, shared by Southern California (1972-74) and Texas (1996-98). ... Roth’s next start in the College World Series will be his seventh in the event, tying Miami’s J.D. Arteaga (1994-97) for most all-time. ... Roth is the fourth pitcher in World Series history to win a game in three different years. It happened in the 1950s and 1970s and most recently from 1994-96. ... Before Saturday, Florida was 27-5 this season when scoring first, and 30-4 when leading after four innings. The Gators did both things Saturday and still lost. ... Tanner said Sunday that he hadn’t decided if Erik Payne or Connor Bright (Wando High) would start as the designated hitter tonight. Arkansas is starting a right-handed pitcher, Ryne Stanek, and Bright is better than Payne against righties. Both are right-handed hitters.