June 26, 2011

CWS Scores & Schedule


Florida, USC ready for CWS championship series

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


(photo by Jimmy Jones)


OMAHA, Neb. – The second-seeded Florida Gators and the fourth-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks will meet in the championship series of the 2011 College World Series.


This will the second straight championship series for South Carolina and the fifth time the Gamecocks have played for the title. USC took two games from UCLA a year ago to win its first baseball national championship. The Gamecocks lost three times in the title contest (Texas in 1975, Arizona State in 1977 and Texas in 2002).


“To be in this situation today is just a tremendous accomplishment for both of our universities,” USC head coach Ray Tanner said. “It’s on a great stage, and there’s no better place to be this time of year than in Omaha.”


The Gators are looking for their first national title. This is the second time Florida has reached the CWS championship series. The Gators lost twice to Texas is 2005.


“There’s going to be a team at Florida that wins it for the first time,” UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said, “and hopefully this is the one. But we’ve got a tremendous challenge ahead of us. But it would be awfully special to be the first team at Florida to win the national championship in baseball.”


Florida and South Carolina played a three-game SEC series in Gainesville in late March. The Gamecocks won 9-2 on Friday, lost 2-1 on Saturday before taking the series with a 4-3 victory on Sunday.


South Carolina and Florida have never met in the College World Series or in the NCAA Tournament.


A team from the SEC will win the national championship for the third straight season. LSU took the title in 2009, followed by South Carolina a season ago.


“We feel like the SEC is certainly the best conference in the country,” O’Sullivan said. “There’s certainly other teams that could be here right now within our conference, and I think playing the SEC schedule has certainly prepared us for this opportunity.”


“It’s a battle every weekend,” USC pitcher Michael Roth said. “You never get a weekend off. It’s always a fight.”


South Carolina has won a record 14 straight NCAA tournament games. The Gamecocks have won nine straight College World Series contests.


Florida and South Carolina are the only two teams to play in the final CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium and the first at TD Ameritrade Park.


This will be the first time that teams from the same conference play in the CWS championship series and the fourth time that teams from the same conference will meet in the title game.

1988: Pac-10: Stanford 9, Arizona State 4

1997: SEC: LSU 13, Alabama 6

1998: Pac-10: USC 21, Arizona State 14


Both head coaches graduated from ACC schools. O’Sullivan is a 1991 graduate of Virginia. South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner is a 1980 graduate of NC State.


Both schools had 11 players selected in the 2011 MLB Draft, one away from the SEC-record 12 from Vanderbilt this year.


Florida has faced three first-round draft picks as starting pitchers in this year’s CWS. The Gators opened with an 8-4 victory over Taylor Jungmann and Texas. Florida edged Grayson Garvin and Vanderbilt 3-1 in its second game. UF beat Sonny Gray and Vandy 6-4 this past Friday to eliminate the Commodores.


“We feel very fortunate to be where we are right now,” O’Sullivan said. “We feel like we’re playing our best baseball right now.”