June 29, 2010

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

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Bradley Shines in Omaha

USC Looks Like Champion Now

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Roth, Price Dig Deep for Gamecocks

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

(Photos by Craig Jackson)


OMAHA, Neb. – The College World Series has its way of finding unlikely heroes. Michael Roth may be one of the most unlikely to toe the rubber at Rosenblatt Stadium.


Roth, who had appeared in 35 games in relief spanning 26.1 innings, hadn’t made a start all season until Friday, when he tossed a complete game against bitter rival Clemson as South Carolina fought off elimination and forced a winner-take-all game with the Tigers. Three nights later, Roth was handed the ball again, and he tossed five solid innings in the Gamecocks’ national title win over UCLA.


“I never would even had thought I would start a game in Omaha,” Roth said, almost looking as if he were dreaming as he spoke. “I’m honored they called on me.”


Roth was part of a pitching staff that was the major factor in the Gamecocks winning the national championship. In 20 innings against the Bruins, South Carolina yielded but two runs.


Roth followed Blake Cooper’s gem in the first game by wiggling in and out of jams, tossing five innings with six hits and one earned run. Jose Mata followed with two scoreless innings, and Tyler Webb and John Taylor bridged the gap to closer Matt Price with 1.1 perfect innings.


Price (left), also pitching on short rest, pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three. Combined, the four pitchers allowed eight hits in 11 innings and struck out seven while walking only three.


“What can you say man, Michael Roth, they’ve been like that all year long, and Matt Price on fumes, I don’t know how he did it.” South Carolina pitching coach Mark Calvi said moments after the Gamecocks won their first college baseball national title. “I don’t know how those guys did it. John Taylor and Webb coming in to get his out and Mata. I don’t know Michael Roth and Matt Price did it, but they did it. And we’re national champions. Unbelievable.”


Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner and Calvi didn’t announce Tuesday night’s starter until earlier in the day. And like his first outing of the College World Series, no one really knew how long Roth would be able to go.


“I was planning on throwing nine innings again,” Roth said.


It was evident early on that likely wouldn’t happen. But the lefty mixed speeds and was around the plate just enough to limit a patient UCLA attack.


“I really didn’t know how much Roth was going to have after three days’ rest,” said Cooper, the star of Game 1. “He hadn’t had a start all year [before Omaha] and he went out there and competed and got us to the middle innings. And then Price came in. I know he was tired, but he gutted it out for us.”


As did the entire Gamecocks staff.


“The pitching staff has been unbelievable for us all year,” said left fielder Evan Marzilli, who went 2 for 5 and laid down a sacrifice bunt in the 11th inning. “Coach Calvi’s done a great job. We have tons of guys that want to be out there in big situations. “Michael Roth came through the other night. It takes a lot of guts to go out and do what they do.”