June 29, 2010

Championship Series Game 2 Recap: South Carolina 2, UCLA 1 (11)

Box Score

Game Notes

Bradley Shines in Omaha

Roth, Price Dig Deep for Gamecocks

CWS Scores and Game Stories

College World Series Capsules


USC Looks Like Champion Now

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

(Photos by Craig Jackson)


OMAHA, Neb. – In its opening game of the NCAA tournament, South Carolina didn’t look much like a national title contender.


Bucknell, which had shocked Florida State in Tallahassee in 2008, was leading the Gamecocks 5-1 in the seventh inning of opening round of the Columbia Regional. Coming off of two losses in the SEC Tournament in which South Carolina scored one run in 21 innings against Ole Miss and Auburn, the Garnet and Black faithful at Carolina Stadium were getting restless.


The Gamecocks still trailed 5-4 in the eighth, but Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run homer gave them a lead, and Adrain Morales added a three-run jack as South Carolina escaped.


“I know that we’ve won some games and the players and coaches on the other side of the field were thinking, ‘they’re not that good,’” coach Ray Tanner said after his Gamecocks beat UCLA 2-1 in 11 innings to win their first national title. “But we were a good team. Even after tonight, we’re not a great team, but we’ve been a really, really special baseball team that approached it the right way and found a way to win.”


South Carolina trailed in each of the next two games but ended up winning the Regional. It followed that up with two one-run wins at Coastal Carolina to reach Omaha.


It didn’t get any easier once the Gamecocks reached Omaha. They opened their stay by dropping a 4-3 affair to Oklahoma, setting up an elimination date with No. 1 Arizona State.


South Carolina stomped the Sun Devils to start a remarkable six-game winning streak to win the national title. Included was a heart-stopping 3-2 win in 12 innings against Oklahoma. The Gamecocks were down to their last strike when Bradley singled in the game-tying run in the bottom of the 12th and scored the winning run on Brady Thomas’ single.


“We like to win hard,” Bradley said Tuesday night. “We like it the hard way.”


Also included were two wins over Clemson, the second a 4-3 thriller in which Christian Walker and Morales had two-out RBI singles in the seventh to eliminate the Tigers.


In all, South Carolina had four wins in the NCAA Tournament where it trailed after seven innings, including the best of all, Tuesday night’s national championship. During the regular season, the Gamecocks had only one win in which they trailed after seven.


“We’ve had situations like this all year where we’ve been down and had to battle,” said Evan Marzilli on the Rosenblatt infield after the championship win.


Good teams battle. Great teams win.