June 24, 2011
USC outlasts Virginia to reach CWS championship series
By Phil Stanton
(photos by Jimmy Jones)
OMAHA, Neb. – Pinch-runner Adam Matthews
scored on an error in the bottom of the 13th as fourth-seeded
South Carolina edged top-seeded Virginia 3-2 Friday evening at
the College World Series in front of a sellout crowd of 25,882 at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Gamecocks (53-14) will face second-seeded
Florida in the CWS championship series, beginning on Monday,
June 27, at 7 p.m. CT.
Brady Thomas led off the 13th with a base hit for
USC and Matthews pinch-ran for him. Peter Mooney bunted and UVa
pitcher Cody Winiarski (6-4) made an errant throw to second as
both runners were safe. Robert Beary also bunted and Winiarski’s
throw to third was wide, allowing Matthews to score the
“Beary had a great bunt and I slid in head first
to third,” Matthews said. “And the umpire signaled I was safe. I
got up. I didn’t know where the ball was. Coach [Chad] Holbrook
and everyone was telling me to go, go, go, so it worked out
Both teams had numerous scoring opportunities
late. The Cavaliers stranded 10 over the final five innings.
Virginia left the bases loaded in the 10th and filled the bases
in both the 12th and 13th before double plays ended the threats.
The Gamecocks left nine on base in the five innings prior to the
“So many things happened,” USC head coach Ray
Tanner said. “They had their opportunities. We had our
opportunities. We escaped a couple of jams. They got out of a
couple. This game certainly could have gone either way, and we
just kept hanging in there and we were fortunate to get a couple
of breaks at the end.”
Matt Price (7-3) earned the victory, going 5.2
innings with seven hits, no runs, five walks and five
got on the board in the top of the second. Steven Proscia (left)
drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a single to right by
Jared King. Kenny Swab grounded into a double play, scoring
Proscia with the game’s first run.
Cavalier junior left-hander Danny Hultzen was
dominant for three innings, allowing one hit and striking out
eight. He was forced to depart prior to the fourth due to an
USC took advantage against reliever Kyle Crockett
in the bottom of the fourth. Christian Walker had a one-out
double and stayed put on an infield single by Jackie Bradley,
Jr. Adrian Morales was hit by a pitch to load the bases before
Thomas delivered a two-run double to left to put the Gamecocks
on top 2-1.
UVa tied it with an unearned run in the eighth.
Chris Taylor reached on an error and was sacrificed to second.
John Hicks sent a ball between the shortstop’s legs for an
error, plating Taylor with the tying run.
“That was a baseball game of just a lot of
emotions,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said, “a lot of
gut decisions, both teams taking chances at times. And it’s
unfortunate that we had to come out on the wrong end of it.”