OMAHA, Neb. -- South Carolina had the day off Saturday. The Gamecocks earned it.
A 3-2, 13-inning victory Friday night against Virginia put USC back in the College World Series championship series -- and it meant the team could get some much-needed rest before the best-of-three adventure against Florida begins Monday night.
"We definitely didn't want to play Saturday," said starter Michael Roth, who pitched the first seven innings against the Cavaliers.
Roth then turned the ball over to John Taylor for an out. And then closer Matt Price went the rest of the way, throwing 95 pitches -- five more than Roth -- in 5 2/3 innings.
Price gave up seven hits and five walks, but no runs, allowing USC enough time and chances to eventually sneak across a run in the bottom of the 13th.
Jams are nothing new for Price, a redshirt sophomore from Sumter. He's inherited plenty in his career, most notably the bases-loaded, no-out
mess at Coastal Carolina in last season's super regional. (Price got two strikeouts and a groundout, to escape.)
But Price also gets himself into trouble. He did again and again Friday, but he managed to navigate around the danger.
Virginia had the bases loaded against Price, who got the victory, in the 10th, 12th and 13th innings.
"I think sometimes Matt goes out there and gets into jams on purpose," Roth said. "It really does seem that way."
Price ended the 10th with a strikeout of Reed Gragnani. Shane Halley, a defensive replacement in the 10th, ended the 12th with a routine 6-4-3 double play. It was just Halley's 13th at-bat of the season.
The 13th inning appeared to be when all would come apart for the Gamecocks. Price walked David Coleman to begin the inning. With USC expecting a bunt from No. 8 hitter Colin Harrington, playing him in, Harrington swung away and caught shortstop Peter Mooney on his heels. Harrington reached first with ease, for an infield single.
Keith Werman, the nation's leader in sacrifice bunts, then laid down a perfect bunt to the first-base side. Christian Walker should have stayed back, but he charged the ball -- and no one was left to cover first.
The bases were loaded against Price with none out. Price, velocity fading, was pushing 90 pitches at the time.
With sidearmer Jose Mata warming, pitching coach Jerry Meyers visited, but stuck with Price. Price struck out Cavs leadoff hitter Chris Taylor, who went 0 for 7 despite being the team's top hitter coming in.
That brought up John Barr, who had not hit into a double play in 235 at-bats prior to Tuesday night against USC. He grounded into two double plays Tuesday, and then another against Price. Barr hit the ball sharply on a line, but to Scott Wingo, who then flipped to Mooney for the second out at second base.
Virginia coach Brian O'Connor, taking a sip of water at that moment, spit it out and tossed his cup.
"It's a crazy game, sometimes," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said.
Tanner added he would not want any other pitcher on the mound in a jam. "He's been in that situation time and time again, especially in the last two years," Tanner said. "He's been out there on the line many, many times. He's been able to survive it. I don't know how he was able to get out of this one, but he was able to get out of it."
Tanner joked with Price about his desire to be a starter in the future. He asked how he liked all the pitches. Price just shot back an exhausted look.
"It was just emotionally draining tonight," said Price. "I was tired."
When could he be ready to pitch again? Tanner said Monday would be difficult, but he will be available at some point against the Gators.