USC star Roth rested and ready

Michael Roth studied in Spain this summer after leading South Carolina to a College World Series title repeat.

Nati Harnik

COLUMBIA -- Michael Roth certainly doesn't have a tired pitching arm. The College World Series star enjoyed South Carolina's back-to-back championship reign in Spain.

"I got a full two months off," Roth said Tuesday at Carolina Stadium. "I picked up a ball last week for the first time since the national championship game."

Roth, a senior International Business major, spent most of the summer studying abroad in Alicante. The Greer resident immersed himself in the culture with Spanish and windsurfing classes.

"One day it was too windy to windsurf," Roth said. "That was ironic."

The Euro adventure followed South Carolina's College World Series-clinching victory over Florida in Omaha, Neb., Roth's 14th win of his first season as a starting pitcher.

"It was a nice trip," Roth said in his first media availability since returning from Spain. "I had $15 in my bank account with five days left. I had to call my parents."

Fall baseball workouts mean an outbreak of College World Series "three-peat" questions all over town.

"There's always pressure, but we also had the pressure of a repeat," Roth said. "It's just kind of getting this team into the same mentality of last year's team. That comes from the top, from Coach (Ray) Tanner and from guys like (outfielder) Adam (Matthews) and I. I don't think these freshmen are really going to have a problem fitting in.

"It's going to be a different team but we're still going to go out there and play our butts off and have great character and play the game the right way."

South Carolina's 2012 quest will not include key players turned professional -- Jackie Bradley Jr., Scott Wingo and Adrian Morales among them.

But having Roth back gives Tanner a No. 1 starting pitcher, a left-hander with a 14-3 record and 1.06 earned run average in 2011. He has started five College World Series games that South Carolina has won over the last two Junes and cannot walk far in Columbia without an autograph request.

The Cleveland Indians picked Roth in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball draft in early June but negotiations never got serious, Roth said. He opted to return to South Carolina for his senior season.

The 2012 draft seems a long way away.

"I haven't even thought about the draft," Roth said. "I'm kind of excited about (South Carolina's) football season. I'm trying not to even think about the draft, because that means I'm in the real world."

Another reason why Spain was so well-timed.

"It was the first time in my life I've ever had an actual break from baseball to enjoy a summer," Roth said. "It was one of the best things I could have ever done."