2011 Columbia Super Regional


4. South Carolina Gamecocks

Columbia, South Carolina

At-large bid from SEC, Won Columbia Regional

2011 record: 22-8, 48-14 (tied for first in SEC East)

Head coach: Ray Tanner (North Carolina State, 1980)

Record at school: 682-296, 15 years

Overall record: 1,077-469-3, 24 years

Assistant coaches: Chad Holbrook, Jerry Meyers, Sammy Esposito

Team offense: .296 BA, 384 R, 44 HR, .432 SLG%, .388 OB%, 37-54 SB

Team pitching: 2.65 ERA, 550.2 IP, 461 H, 201 BB, 490 K

Top hitters: Christian Walker (.361/9/58/18 2B), Scott Wingo (.335/4/25), Brady Thomas (.310/4/37), Evan Marzilli (.302/3/30), Robert Beary (.295/3/33), Adrian Morales (.286/3/38), Jackie Bradley Jr. (.259/6/26)

Top pitchers: John Taylor (5-1, 1.32, 61.1 IP, 38 H, 23 BB, 61 K), Michael Roth (12-3, 1.10, 114.2 IP, 89 H, 29 BB, 93 K), Jose Mata (3-0, 1.82, 29.2 IP, 30 H, 13 BB, 16 K), Steven Neff (3-1, 2.45, 36.2 IP, 29 H, 10 BB, 29 K), Matt Price (5-3, 2.25, 17 SV, 48 IP, 34 H, 14 BB, 63 K), Forrest Koumas (6-1, 3.07, 67.1 IP, 56 H, 28 BB, 59 K), Colby Holmes (7-3, 3.76, 76.2 IP, 67 H, 20 BB, 68 K)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2010 (3-0 at Columbia Regional, 2-0 at Myrtle Beach Super Regional, 6-1 at College World Series)

Notes: The defending national champion, South Carolina is the No. 4 National Seed. The Gamecocks swept through the Columbia Regional. USC edged Georgia Southern before beating Stetson twice to claim the regional title. The Gamecocks, under veteran skipper Ray Tanner, have looked every bit as dominant as the team that won last year's College World Series, not necessarily the team that began last year's tourney. Michael Roth turned his CWS heroics (he was a situational reliever before lifting the Gamecocks past Clemson with a complete game in an elimination game in Omaha) into a downright filthy season - opponents hit .214 off the lefty. The rest of the staff has been splendid under Jerry Meyers, the former Old Dominion head coach who returned to Columbia as pitching coach to replace Mark Calvi. John Taylor, who was expected to close last season, made 43 appearances and held hitters to a .178 average. Matt Price is 5-3 and has 17 saves, helping USC post a 44-0 mark when leading after eight. Scott Wingo has 55 BB/HBP and only 29 strikeouts. Sophomore Christian Walker leads the team in runs, hits, homers, RBI, total bases and slugging. Jackie Bradley Jr. has missed much of the season with an injured hand, but was the 40th overall pick in the MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. Assistant coach Chad Holbrook expects to be a hot commodity for a head coaching job. The Gamecocks' CWS experience was detailed in Gamecock Glory by Travis Haney.

Connecticut Huskies

Storrs, Connecticut

At-large bid from Big East, Won Clemson Regional

2011 record: 22-5, 45-18-1 (first in Big East)

Head coach: Jim Penders (Connecticut, 1994)

Record at school: 289-182-2, 8 years

Overall record: same

Assistant coaches: Justin Blood, Steven Malinowski, Chris Podeszwa

Team offense: .311 BA, 421 R, 34 HR, .431 SLG%, .386 OB%, 127-170 SB

Team pitching: 3.03 ERA, 575.2 IP, 477 H, 237 BB, 446 K

Top hitters: Mike Nemeth (.363/3/50/15 2B), George Springer (.350/12/77/23 2B/31-38 SB), LJ Mazzilli (.346/3/32/11-21 SB), Nick Ahmed (.333/2/35/23-29 SB), Ryan Fuller (.321/6/58/27 2B/11-14 SB), John Andreoli (.319/0/31/22-30 SB), Doug Elliot (.292/2/33/11 2B), Billy Ferriter (.280/0/23/16-19 SB)

Top pitchers: Kevin Vance (0-0, 13 SV, 1.57, 28.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 31 K), Matt Barnes (11-4, 1.62, 116.2 IP, 71 H, 31 BB, 111 K), David Fischer (2-1, 2 SV, 1.68, 48.1 IP, 37 H, 21 BB, 43 K), Greg Nappo (10-2, 2.55, 88.1 IP, 69 H, 40 BB, 52 K)

Last NCAA appearance: 2010 (1-2 at Norwich Regional)

Notes: Connecticut dropped its opener at the Clemson Regional before winning four straight, including the final two against the host Tigers, to advance to its first Super Regional. The Huskies have earned NCAA tourney bids in consecutive years after not appearing since 1994. Connecticut has reached Omaha five times, the last coming in 1979. Junior outfielder George Springer was the 11th overall pick in the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. Junior right-hander Matt Barnes was the 19th overall pick in the MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. The Huskies took home the top Big East awards, as Barnes was Pitcher of the Year, Springer was Player of the Year and Jim Penders was Coach of the Year for the second straight season and third time overall. Barnes is the second UConn hurler to win Pitcher of the Year. Charles Nagy earned the award in both 1987 and 1988. Barnes and Springer were unanimous choices for All-Big East first team, while Greg Nappo, Doug Elliot, Mike Nemeth, LJ Mazzilli, Ryan Fuller and Nick Ahmed were second team.