June 21, 2011

Firsts are key for USC

CWS Scores & Schedule


South Carolina Stops Virginia

By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


OMAHA, Neb. – South Carolina jumped on top with three runs in the first inning and continued to build on its lead in posting a 7-1 win over No. 1 national seed Virginia in the late game of the College World Series on Tuesday night under hazy skies.


Christian Walker (right) got things started with two outs when he reached on a throwing error by Cavaliers third baseman Steven Proscia, and Jackie Bradley Jr. promptly chased him home with a double into the right-center gap.


Adrian Morales sent a high-chopping single over first baseman Jared King to score Bradley Jr., and advanced to second on the second throwing error of the inning by Virginia (55-11). Designated hitter Brady Thomas’ double to the center-field wall capped the first inning, giving the Gamecocks (52-14) seven first-inning runs in their first two CWS games.


“I just felt like I didn’t have it the whole night but give credit to their hitters,” Virginia starter Will Roberts said. “They were very aggressive, and they made me pay for every mistake.”


USC starter Colby Holmes combined with reliever John Taylor to stymie the Cavaliers offense, allowing just one run over 8.2 innings before closer Matt Price came in to get the final out.


“Once we fell down three runs in the first, I thought our offensive approach was passive,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “We continued to battle, and we had some opportunities but just couldn’t get the big hits when we needed them.


“You can count on one hand the number of times that we have been in this position, and it is not indicative of how we have played this season. This is a veteran group that understands what is at stake, and we look forward to showing what we can do on Thursday night.”


Holmes exited with 4.1 innings under his belt. He allowed four hits, one run and walked just one. Taylor was even more impressive in his 4.1 innings. He was touched for only one hit, no walks and did not allow a run.


“I thought we played one of our better games tonight,” Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. “We had outstanding pitching, hit the ball well and played great defense against the No. 1 team in the country.


"Overall, I think we played about as well as we possibly can."


Morales led the way for the Gamecocks with three hits, two runs and an RBI.


Walker added two hits, two RBI and a run, and Bradley, Jr., (left) contributed two hits, an RBI and a run.


Two players who had only one hit between them almost stole the show.


Shortstop Peter Mooney and second baseman Scott Wingo turned in several outstanding plays in the middle of the diamond that were Major League caliber to thwart potential Virginia rallies. A near-double play featured Wingo backhanding a ball up the middle, flipping to Mooney, who spun and fired to first.


South Carolina now gets the opportunity to relax and enjoy the sights until it plays again Friday night.


The Cavaliers will take on Cal on Thursday night at 6 local time in an elimination game.