Heat, soccer lead to smaller crowds

South Carolina's Evan Marzilli (left) and Whit Merrifield celebrate after beating Clemson, 4-3, in an elimination game at the College World Series on Saturday. USC plays UCLA in the championship series staring Monday (7:30 p.m. ESPN).

OMAHA, Neb. -- Despite them being the most important College World Series games so far, the energy -- and crowd -- weren't really part of Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The early-evening sun reflected off the empty outfield bleachers, reserved for general admission patrons.

There were 22,334 people in the seats for Friday night's Clemson-South Carolina game.

It basically took both games Saturday to get to that figure.

There were 12,593 fans for the rematch between the Gamecocks and Tigers. The early game Saturday, between TCU and UCLA, was even worse. With 10,907 denizens present, it was the most sparsely attended game at the event since June 1, 1991, a game between Wichita State and Long Beach State.

What was working against the games Saturday?

The summer heat. Temperatures were in the middle-90s, with heat indices pushing 100.

Additionally, at least for the early game, it coincided with the U.S. soccer game. There's also a downtown arts festival, which could have kept some Omaha residents away, going on this weekend.

Also, ticket sales and distribution work differently for Saturday's if-necessary games.

Going streaking

South Carolina sophomore outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a single through the left side in the first inning. It led to a South Carolina run.

Coming into the night, Bradley was 35 for 81 (.432), in the first 20 games of the streak.

Bradley had a CWS-high nine RBIs coming into the night.

Bradley wasn't the only streaking player on the field Saturday night. Clemson's Brad Miller had a 20-game hit streak, entering Saturday. But he went 0 for 4.

Miller's streak was the longest of the season for the Tigers, who have been a good hitting team all year.


There have been five triples hit in the College World Series. South Carolina and Clemson have accounted for three of them -- including two in Saturday's game.

Clemson cleanup hitter Kyle Parker hit one Tuesday, off the center-field wall. USC's Whit Merrifield joined the club in the fifth Saturday, with a ball to the wall in right-center field.

Merrifield was also involved in the third.

The Tigers' John Hinson was credited with a triple after Merrifield and USC second baseman Scott Wingo collided in shallow right field to begin the eighth inning.

Merrifield was shaken up on the play, but stayed in the game after getting some attention for a cut lip.

Lucky stripes

South Carolina's win means it's 15-0 this season when wearing its standard home uniforms, white shirts and pants with garnet pinstripes.

Reach Travis Haney at thaney@postandcourier.com, check out the Gamecocks blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/gamecocks and follow him on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).