June 27, 2011
CBI Live: South Carolina
2, Florida 1 (11)
Walker answers the bell, helps
USC edge Florida
By Phil Stanton
(photo by Jimmy Jones)
Neb. – He wasn’t even supposed to play.
Christian Walker (left) was not in the original
starting lineup for the opener of the championship series
between South Carolina against Florida. He suffered a broken
hamate bone and was expected to watch from the dugout.
“For the last half of yesterday,” Walker said, “I
didn’t think I was going to be able to play. They (medical
staff) did a great job. I can’t thank them enough.”
But he scored the game-winning run in the top of
the 11th as the Gamecocks nipped the Gators in the opener of the
championship series of the 2011 College World Series.
Walker looked good during batting practice,
hitting a couple out along with several line drives. Word came
to the press box that Walker would hit third and would start at
How would he handle live pitching? After
Florida’s Hudson Randall struck out the first two Gamecocks,
Walker ripped the first pitch he saw down the right field line
for a double. It was a healthy cut from the sophomore.
In his next two plate appearances against
Randall, Walker hit grounders in the hole at short. Nolan
Fontana made excellent stops and throws to first to retire
He would strike out to lead off the ninth against
lefty Steven Rodriguez.
Jackie Bradley, Jr., was first to hit in the 11th
for the Gamecocks against Nick Maronde. He ripped a liner that
looked ticketed for right, but first baseman Preston Tucker made
a diving catch for the first out.
Walker would single up the middle against Morande,
ending his outing. Greg Larson took over on the mound for the
Gators. On his first delivery, Adam Matthews swung and missed on
a hit-and-run. Walker, who was 3 for 6 on stolen base attempts
this season, hustled toward second. Mike Zunino’s throw to
second went into center field as Walker scrambled to third.
Bryson Smith fired the ball in toward third, but the throw was
high and went out of play, allowing Walker to trot home with the
“Christian’s not a guy that they would expect to
take off in that situation,” USC head coach Ray Tanner said. “We
sort of did it [for the] element of surprise. We didn’t plan on
Matthews swinging through the pitch. But he got a pretty good
jump and fortunately it wasn’t a good throw down there and he
was able to move up.”
Fortunately for the Gamecocks, he was able to