June 16, 2012

CWS Game 4 Notes


Gamecocks down Gators to extend tourney records

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Photos by Craig Jackson, LeftfieldLounge.com, @leftfieldloungs


OMAHA, Neb. – 12 and 22.


No. 8 South Carolina used a five-run fifth to rally past top-seeded Florida on the second day of 2012 College World Series in front of 25,291 fans at TD Ameritrade Park. The Gamecocks won their 12th straight CWS contest and 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament game, both Division I records.


South Carolina (46-17) will face Arkansas on Monday at 8 p.m. CT. The Gators (47-19) will play Kent State at 4 p.m. CT Monday in an elimination game.


“Anytime you play a team like the Gators, every pitch is a big deal,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “It was pretty much like that tonight.”

Florida started the scoring in the bottom of the third. Justin Shafer and Vickash Ramjit had consecutive singles to start the frame. Josh Tobias popped up a sac bunt attempt and pitcher Michael Roth (above) made a diving catch for the first out. Nolan Fontana reached on a fielder’s choice, erasing Ramjit at second. Preston Tucker lined a double to left to drive in both runners, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead.


The Gamecocks had base runners in each of the first four innings, but could not score against Brian Johnson (8-5, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K). South Carolina stranded seven over those four frames, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.


All that changed in the top of the fifth. Evan Marzilli led off with a double and slid over to third on a single by Christian Walker. Adam Matthews walked to load the bases. Erik Payne lined a triple to the gap in right center to put South Carolina on top 3-2.


“I was trying to keep my hands still, trying to stay balanced and work the whole field,” Payne said. “I got a fastball that I could drive and I slid a gap. I was fortunate enough that it fell.”

Payne came in on a double by L.B. Dantzler, ending the night for Brian Johnson. Dantzler scored on a single by Chase Vergason to push the lead to 5-2.


The Gators got one back in the bottom of the frame as Josh Tobias had a leadoff single and came in on a sacrifice fly by Mike Zunino to cut the deficit to 5-3.


South Carolina added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Walker had a leadoff walk and came in on a wild pitch. Dantzler reached on an error and scored on an error as the Gamecocks extended the advantage to 7-3.


Florida put a pair on in the bottom of the ninth, but could not dent home in falling to South Carolina.


“I thought we played really well through the first four,” said Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, “but to be quite honest with you, I thought South Carolina beat us in every phase of the game today. They outpitched us, they obviously outhit us, and they played better defense. It was just a really well-played game by South Carolina, obviously not one of our best.”


Roth (8-1) gutted out the win, allowing seven hits and three runs in 6.1 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.


“Obviously I'd like to be a little bit better, of course,” Roth said. “But you just have to go out there and grind it out. Florida's a great hitting team. You just try to keep them off balance.”


Tyler Webb got the final two outs of the seventh, forcing the Gators to leave the bases loaded. Matt Price tossed two scoreless innings with two hits and three strikeouts for his 12th save. Price set a SEC record with career save No. 42.