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Florida, South Carolina to face off in College World Series finals

Jun 25, 2011, 2:35 PM EDT

South Carolina's celebration AP

South Carolina knocked off No. 1 seed Virginia in a 13-inning game Friday to advance to the finals of the College World Series.  The Gamecocks will play Floida in a best-of-three final beginning Monday.

Virginia sent ace Danny Hultzen to the mound in an attempt to stave off elimination last night, but Hultzen, who was selected second overall by the Mariners in this month’s draft, was ill and had to come out after three scoreless innings and eight strikeouts.

With Hultzen gone, the Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, and starter Michael Roth was able to protect that margin until coming out after seven.  The Cavs tied it in the eighth, and at that point, the closers took over.  Brendan Kline pitched five scoreless innings for Virginia, working through the 12th.  Matt Price, a Diamondbacks’ draft pick, threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings for South Carolina, earning the win in the process.

Along the way, Price pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th innings.  He pitched his 5 2/3 scoreless innings despite allowing seven hits and walking five (two intentional).  He threw more pitches (95) than Roth did in his seven innings (91).

So, now it’s the Gators and the Gamecocks for the title.  A few players to watch:

South Carolina

Jackie Bradley Jr.: The Gamecocks’ center fielder and cleanup hitter was a supplemental first-round pick of the Red Sox.  He actually had something of a disappointing season, but he came through with big hits in both of USC’s wins over Virginia.

Price: Arizona’s fifth-rounder was the Gamecocks’ second highest drafted player.  How he bounces back from throwing 95 pitches will be very interesting to see, particularly if he’s needed Monday.

Scott Wingo: The team’s second baseman got on base at a .473 clip during regular-season play.  He was a 10th-round pick of the Dodgers this month.

Florida

Karsten Whitson: Whitson was drafted ninth overall by the Padres last year, only to snub the team and go to Florida.  After having gone 8-0 with a 2.43 ERA as a freshman, he’ll start the second game against the Gamecocks.

Preston Tucker: The Rockies’ 16th-round pick.  Tucker has driven in 19 runs during the NCAA tournament, seven more than anyone else.  He had the go-ahead hit Friday as the Gators beat Vandy 6-4 to advance.

Nick Maronde: A left-handed reliever, Maronde was the Gators’ highest drafted player this year, going to the Angels in round three.  He has a 1.93 ERA and a 54/9 K/BB ratio in 42 innings out of the pen.

  1. buckeyegamecock - Jun 25, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Please get your facts straight. The Gamecocks are the defending national champions. I hope i can say the same thing this time next year.

  2. addictedzone - Jun 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Three games between them this season back in late March. South Carolina won a pair and two of the three games were one run affairs. The Gators have won 13 of their last 15 with both losses being by a single run.

    Defending National Champ vs SEC Champ. Should be fun.

    • buckeyegamecock - Jun 25, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      In case you didn’t know, the defending national champ and the SEC champ are one and the same. South Carolina won the College World Series last year. Check the record books.

      • addictedzone - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:04 PM

        Actually, no.

        The Florida Gators are the 2011 SEC Baseball Champions

  3. raysfan1 - Jun 25, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    “something of a disappointing season?” Dude was injured most of the year!

    Roth’s ERA is 0.97; with a 13-3 record, must’ve had little run support to eat 3 losses.

    UVA’s closer, Klein also had 100 pitches and had to get out of at least 2 lases-loaded jams.

    Pity the poor guy who pitched the 13th for UVA–the lead off hitter singled up the middle and then scored on two throwing errors.

    • addictedzone - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      Don’t pity the pitcher. He fielded two bunts and was responsible for both errors when his throws went awry leading to the winning run.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:53 PM

        actually, that’s why I pity the kid

      • addictedzone - Jun 25, 2011 at 11:41 PM

        “actually, that’s why I pity the kid”

        thought of that after I hit send. I worded my response very poorly. It was a tough way for their season to end.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 26, 2011 at 12:08 AM

        No worries. You know that pitcher feels like warmed over crap though–like the loss is all his fault despite the team leaving the bags full of runners 3 times.

  4. kingbuccaneer - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    GO GATORS!!!!!

    We need a CWS championship to add to our collection!

    • raysfan1 - Jun 26, 2011 at 12:05 AM

      I have an adult daughter, niece, & brother-in-law that all went to UF. My wife’s a SC alum. Love all of them, but have to live with my wife: Go Cocks!

      • addictedzone - Jun 26, 2011 at 12:24 AM

        Spoken with tongue planted firmly in cheek….

        Wives can come and go, but daughters are forever.

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