June 26, 2010

College World Series Schedule and Game Stories

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Gamecocks to meet Bruins for National Championship

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


OMAHA, Neb. – It will USC vs. UCLA for the national title.


South Carolina scored two in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie and held on for a 4-3 win over Clemson in Game 14 of the 2010 College World Series Saturday evening in front of 12,593 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The Gamecocks (52-16) will face the Bruins in a best-of-three championship series, beginning Monday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Both teams will be looking for their first national crown.


Evan Marzilli was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the seventh for South Carolina, signaling the end of the day for Clemson starter Casey Harman. Alex Frederick came in from the pen and struck out Whit Merrifield. On the play, Marzilli stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher. Jackie Bradley Jr. was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners. Christian Walker (left) ripped a base hit up the middle to bring home Marzilli with the tie-breaking run.


“They walked Jackie before me,” Walker said. “So I knew I had something to prove, to show them that I can get the job done.”


Adrian Morales had a base hit to right to plate Bradley with an insurance run, giving South Carolina a 4-2 advantage.


In the top of the eighth, John Hinson hit a pop fly to shallow right. Second baseman Scott Wingo and right fielder Merrifield collided, allowing Hinson to go to third with a triple. Merrifield was down for a while, but remained in the game.


“It was a bonehead play on my part,” Merrifield said. “I should have called it from the get-go. I called it a little too late. Scott didn’t hear anything, so he just kept going after the ball.”


Brad Miller grounded out to second to drive in Hinson, pulling the Tigers to within one at 4-3. Reliever Matt Price got a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning.


Mike Freeman had a two-out single in the ninth for the Tigers, but Price got Jeff Schaus to ground out to Walker at first to secure the win for the Gamecocks.


Marzilli, Merrifield and Bradley started the bottom of the first with consecutive singles to load the bases. Walker grounded into a 4-6-3 double play as Marzilli scored the game’s first run for South Carolina.


Will Lamb was hit by a pitch with one out in the third for the Tigers. He moved to third on a base hit by Freeman and came home on a fielder’s choice by Schaus to knot the score at 1-1.


Walker whacked a leadoff homer in the fourth, his ninth dinger of the season, to give the Gamecocks a 2-1 edge.


“The pitch before was a changeup,” Walker said. “I just got it off the end. So I had a feeling he wasn’t coming with any fastballs. He threw me a changeup and it hung back over the middle of the plate. I was trying to sit back inside there and I guess I got lucky and hit it to the right part of the field.”


The Tigers finally tied it in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Chris Epps drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a base hit by Lamb. Freeman hit a bouncer to shortstop Bobby Haney, who tossed to second baseman Wingo for the force of Lamb at second. The relay throw to first was wide, allowing Epps to score the equalizer from third to make it 2-2. Price relieved Dyson and gave up a base hit to Schaus to put Tigers on the corners. Price struck out Kyle Parker to end the threat.


“I just had to locate my pitches,” Price said, “and he chased a couple that were in. So I got the strikeout.”


Dyson, pitching on three days rest, allowed five hits and two earned runs in 6.2 innings with two walks and five strikeouts.


“I feel I performed up to my capabilities today,” Dyson said. “I battled the whole way through and knew I had to make pitches whenever I had an opportunity to. Some of them went my way, some of them didn’t. But luckily we were in a situation where we weren’t down in the game.”


Price (4-1) surrendered three hits and one run in 2.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts to pick up the win.


Harman (8-4) gave up seven hits and three earned runs in 6.1 innings with no walks and five strikeouts in absorbing the loss.


“It was a tough game,” Harman said. “It was a battle. They did a good job putting the ball in play.”


Walker finished with two hits and two RBI for the Gamecocks. Merrifield had three hits for South Carolina.


Freeman and Hinson both had two hits for the Tigers.

(photo by Jimmy Jones)