June 28, 2010

Shaping Up Benefits Cooper

Box Score

UCLA Stumbles from Start

Game Notes

CWS Scores and Game Stories

College World Series Capsules

CBI Live
Cooper pitches Gamecocks
past Bruins

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

(Photos by Craig Jackson)


OMAHA, Neb. – It was a dominating pitching performance, just not from the expected source.


South Carolina senior starter Blake Cooper (right) struck out 10 in eight innings to lead South Carolina past #6 UCLA 7-1 Monday in Game 1 of the Championship Series of the 2010 College World Series in front of 23,181 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The teams will meet in Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT.


Cooper (13-2), pitching on three days' rest, allowed one hit and no walks through eight innings and had 10 groundball outs to go with his 10 strikeouts. He surrendered two singles and a walk in the ninth to end his night.


John Taylor relieved Cooper, getting a double play that scored Cody Regis from third and a flyout to secure the victory.


“I just want to do what I've been doing all year,” Cooper said, “go out and give my team a chance to win. And I was able to do that today and do a little extra. I was able to get into the ninth. We got some early insurance runs, and we got a few more later in the game, and I was able to get the job done late.”


Cooper outdueled UCLA sophomore starter Gerrit Cole (left), a former first-round draft pick. Cole (11-4) worked seven innings with 11 hits, a season high, six runs (four earned), one walk and two strikeouts. The two punchouts matched a season low. He fanned two in five innings against USC.


“I thought Blake Cooper was outstanding,” UCLA head coach John Savage said. “Gotta give him a ton of credit. He pounded the strike zone. Threw his change and breaking ball for strikes, and really kept us off balance all evening.”


The Gamecocks (53-16) got a pair in the top of the first. Jackie Bradley Jr. started the uprising with a two-out bunt single to extend his hit streak to 22. Christian Walker had a bloop single to left, moving Bradley to third. Brady Thomas had a check-swing go for a base hit to left, scoring Bradley with the first run. Adrian Morales reached on an error at second, plating Walker with the second run.


With one out in the second, Scott Wingo tripled past a diving Jeff Gelalich in left field. Wingo scored on a base hit by Evan Marzilli to give South Carolina a 3-0 advantage.


The top of the third was ugly for the Bruins (51-16). Walker was awarded a single on a soft liner that first baseman Justin Uribe could not corral. Thomas walked and Morales reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. Kyle Enders flew out to center. The throw home got past catcher Steve Rodriguez and Walker tried to score. Cole backed up the play and tossed to Rodriguez, who tagged Walker for the second out on a close play at the plate.


Bobby Haney (right) did not let UCLA off the hook, rapping a two-run single to right on an 0-2 pitch.


“Just be aggressive early in the count,” Haney said of his approach. “I think I fouled off a fastball, and Cole was throwing sliders in, and it was a strike. I swung the bat trying to get a decent part of the bat on it. And I guess it was good enough.”


Haney’s hit gave the Gamecocks a 5-0 cushion.


“We got a great start tonight offensively,” South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner said. “We pushed across some runs early. And they made a couple of mistakes. And we had a couple of hits stuck in there. We really didn’t hit Cole that hard early, but we were able to get a couple balls to drop and scored some runs.”


South Carolina added a run in the fifth. Morales had a one-out single, moved to third on a base hit by Enders and came home on a sacrifice fly by Haney to push the lead to 6-0.


The Bruins did not get their first hit until there was one away in the bottom of the fifth. Rodriguez dropped a blooper down the right field line for a single.


Wingo reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a base hit by Merrifield in the eighth to extend the margin to 7-0.


Haney, hitting .158 in the CWS coming into the game, finished with two hits and three RBI for the Gamecocks.