South Carolina CWS Preview

June 14, 2012
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Gamecocks Look To Continue Historic Run …

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South Carolina Gamecocks
(No. 8 National Seed, advanced through Columbia Regional & Super Regional)

Record: (45-17)

Conference: SEC (2012 Eastern Division champions)

Head Coach: Ray Tanner (16th season)

First Game In Omaha: Sat., June 16 vs. No. 1 national seed Florida (8 CT; ESPN)
Series vs. Florida: South Carolina leads 41-32
Previous Meeting: went 1-3 overall vs. Gators in 2012 (lost 7-2 at SEC Tournament)

NCAA Tournament History: 11th College World Series appearance, 28th NCAA Tournament appearance

South Carolina Info. – SC CWS Central  |  CWS Notes  |  Season Stats  |  Roster  |   Media Guide  |  Head Coach Ray Tanner

CWS/NCAA Interactive Bracket … CWS Printable Bracket … NCAA 64-Team Printable Bracket

Led by ace Michael Roth (front) South Carolina looks to become just the second to ever win three straight CWS championships.

ROAD TO OMAHA

The Gamecocks are back in town. After winning the program’s first national championship in the last College World Series played at Rosenblatt Stadium followed by a repeat title in the first CWS at TD Ameritrade Park, South Carolina is back in Omaha for a chance to make history.

Ray Tanner’s squad has a chance to become just the second college baseball program to ever win three straight national championships. The only other team to accomplish the feat is Rod Dedeaux’s University of Southern California Trojans.

South Carolina comes into its third straight CWS riding a 21-game NCAA Tournament winning streak. Their last such loss came on June 20, 2010 when they dropped a 3-2 decision to Oklahoma in their College World Series opener. They ripped-off six straight wins after that though to claim their first national title and they haven’t lost an NCAA game since.

The last two wins in the 21-game streak came last weekend in the Columbia Super Regional against those same Oklahoma Sooners. Tanners team opens this year’ CWS against an all too familiar face – SEC rival Florida. The same Florida team that the Gamecocks beat to close last year’s CWS Finals.

The Constants

Probably the most impressive thing about South Carolina’s return to Omaha for a chance at a third straight championship is the roster turnover the team has undergone since 2010. Of the nine position players (DH included) who started for the Gamecocks against UCLA in the title clinching Rosenblatt finale only three players – Christian Walker, Evan Marzilli and Adam Matthews – were in the starting lineup in Monday’s Super Regional clincher against OU.

Marzilli started in leftfield in that championship game but is now in centerfield. Matthews has moved from DH to rightfield, while Walker remains a fixture at first base.

Gone are the likes of Jackie Bradley, Jr., Whit Merrifield, Adrian Morales, and Scott Wingo. All of which played prominent roles in the first two championships.

The only other South Carolina player to start that night was starting pitcher Michael Roth. Now a senior, Roth went from bullpen afterthought to CWS starting pitcher and hero in the span of less than two weeks in 2010. He has been his team’s Friday starter for the last two years though and joins Walker, Marzilli and Matthews as the handfuls of constants Tanner has had during the program’s golden run.

Roth “E”RA

Roth has been South Carolina’s Friday starter for the last two seasons, but he made his name in Omaha before he ever sniffed the mound as a starter in the SEC.

He made just two starts (35 relief appearances) as a sophomore in 2010, but they were two of the most important starts in South Carolina history. After pitching an inning of relief in the Gamecock’s CWS loss to Oklahoma and then going 1 1/3 four days later against the Sooners, Roth fired a complete game three-hitter in a 5-1 elimination game victory over Clemson in his first start. He took the ball again three days later, giving his team 5.0 quality innings in the 2-1 national championship win over UCLA.

Roth was the starting pitcher again last season, earning his 14th victory of the season, in the national championship game as South Carolina beat Florida 5-2 to claim its second straight crown.

During Carolina’s current 21-game NCAA winning streak Ross has a miniscule 0.84 ERA in 53 2/3 IP. He is 21-4 with a 1.35 ERA during his last two seasons as a starter, but the lefty was just a ninth round selection of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the MLB Draft last week.

Roth would probably prefer to have been an earlier round pick this year or last, but for now he can settle for being a great college pitcher on a great college baseball team.

The Ups And The Downs

With the youngest team he’s had in recent years, Tanner didn’t have the most challenging non-conference schedule in the nation to begin the season. The Gamecocks played the likes of VMI, Elon and Princeton and jumped out to a 15-1 record through mid March. The lone loss was to arch rival Clemson in the finale of a three games in three days series.

Things changed quickly once SEC plan began.

The Gamecocks ran into a buzz saw in Lexington, dropping all three games of their SEC-opening series to a Kentucky team that was 21-0 when the dust had cleared. South Carolina returned home the following weekend for the highly anticipated rematch of the 2011 CWS Finals with Florida. The result was a 2-1 series win for the Gators and a 1-5 start to conference play for the Gamecocks.

The tide turned after that though, as South Carolina won 17 of its next 23 SEC games to finish 18-11 in conference action and edge Florida for the SEC’s Eastern Division crown.

They’re HERE!!  The Dugout in Omaha has official College World Series gear for each of the eight teams, including Kent State. If you want to be the first kid (no matter what age) on your block to have this year’s official CWS shirts, hats and more (both for individual teams or generic) click the red link and get to The Dugout’s web site!

If you’re going to Omaha for the CWS you can also visit The Dugout. It’s right across the street from the home plate entrance to TD Ameritrade Park.

Projected Lineup

*Denotes team category leader

1. (RH) Joey Pankake SS – 6-0/195 … Fr. … Easley, SC … #9  (SEC All-Freshman Team)
… .286, 26 RBI, 41 Runs, 2 HR, 3 Triples, 15 Doubles, 30 BB, 4 HBP, 37 K, 3-7 SB

2. (LH) Evan Marzilli CF – 5-11/180 … Jr. … Cranston, RI .. .#31
… .288, 30 RBI, 50 Runs*, 2 HR, 3 Triples, 12 Doubles, 27 BB, 9 HBP, 51 K, 12-16 SB*
… SEC All-Defensive Team (2 E, .988 fielding pct.)
… 8th-round MLB draft selection (Arizona)

3. (RH) Christian Walker 1B – 6-0/220 … Jr. … Limerick, PA … #13  (1st Team All-SEC)
… .315, 54 RBI*, 44 Runs, 11 HR*, 2 Triples, 11 Doubles, .534 slug. %, .440 OB%, 43 BB, 8 HBP, 23 K, 2-3 SB
… 4th-round MLB draft selection (Baltimore)

4. (RH) Adam Matthews RF – 6-1/195 … Sr. … Lexington, SC … #26
… .240, 25 RBI, 28 runs, 5 HR, 5 Doubles, 9 Sac Bunts*, 21 BB, 3 HBP, 40 K, 7-10 SB
… 29th-round MLB draft selection (Cincinnati)

5. DH – (RH) Erik Payne/(RH) Connor Bright/(RH) Sean Sullivan/(LH) Kyle Martin
(Through five NCAA games this season, SC has used four different DHs)

6. (LH) L.B. Dantzler 3B – 5-11/205 … Jr. … Winter Haven, FL … #20
… .264, 45 RBI, 34 Runs, 9 HR, 13 Doubles, .431 Slg %, 25 BB, 2 HBP, 34 K, 0-2 SB

7. (RH) Tanner English LF – 5-7/160 … Fr. … Murrells inlet, SC … #3  (SEC All-Freshman Team)
… .306, 22 RBI, 41 Runs, 9 Sac Bunts*, 13 BB, 3 HBP, 62 K, 9-12 SB

8. (LH) Chase Vergason 2B – 6-0/180 … Jr. … Orlando, FL … #16
… .262, 10 RBI, 15 Runs, HR, 8 Doubles, 21 BB, 8 HBP, 15 K, 1-2 SB

9. (RH) Dante Rosenberg C** – 5-10/175 … Jr. … Coral Springs, FL … #18
… .212, 7 RBI, 7 Runs (20 starts), 3 Doubles, 5 BB, HBP, 12 K

** Note – Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner, one of three SC players named to SEC All-Freshman Team, started 48 games before tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee on May 30 at the SEC Tournament. He has undergone surgery and was cleared to play in last week’s Super Regional, but he did not see action. Greiner recently was named a Freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball magazine.

 

Starting Rotation

LHP Michael Roth – 6-1/210 … Sr. …  Greer, SC … #29
… (7-1) 2.50 ERA, 115 IP *, 79 K, 37 BB, .215 ppp. BA (nearly 7.0 innings/start)
… First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American (3.83 cum. GPA, int’l business & marketing major)
… SEC All-Defensive Team
… 9th-round MLB draft selection (Angels)

RHP Colby Holmes – 5-11/200 … Jr. … Conway, SC … #44
… (7-1) 2.80 ERA, 74 IP, 61 K, 15 BB, .218 opp. BA

LHP Jordan Montgomery – 6-3/215 … Fr. … Sumter, SC … #34
… (5-1) 4.05 ERA, 66 2/3 IP, 51 K, 9 BB, .259 opp. BA
… Freshman All-American (Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball magazine)

Bullpen

RHP Matt Price – 6-2/215 … Jr. … Sumter, SC … #22  (2nd Team All-SEC)
(4-4) 3.47 ERA, 24 App, 5 Starts, 11 SV*, 70 IP, 82 K*, 29 BB, .197 opp. BA
… 7th-round MLB draft selection (Baltimore)

LHP Tyler Webb – 6-6/225 … Jr. … Nassawdox, VA … #38
(6-1) 1.91 ERA, 35 App.*, 3 SV, 47 IP, 50 K, 14 BB, .223 opp. BA

I’m kind of at a loss for words. To be able to get a chance to continue to play after the way we started…you start reflecting throughout the season. As I told the guys in the huddle at the end, it didn’t start like we wanted, but we played. The team stayed the course and was resilient. – South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner after clinching a third straight CWS appearance.

COLUMBIA Super Regional SC Regional Central
… Pre-SR Press Conferences: Oklahoma & South Carolina
• Gm-1
(Sat.): at national 8-seed South Carolina 5-8-1 … def. Oklahoma 0-6-1
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF  |  AP Recap  |  SC Recap (w/ video)  |  OU Recap  |  Notes  |  Quotes
Photos (AP)  |  Photos (SC)  |  Photos (OU)
Video Highlights  |  SC Postgame Video  |  OU Postgame Video
• Gm-2 (Sun.): Oklahoma (H) at (8) South Carolina – suspended, 0-0 (b6)
• Gm-2 (Mon.): at (8) South Carolina 5-8-2 … def. Oklahoma (H) 1-3-1  (resume from Fri.)
… Final Stats: HTML & PDF  |  AP Recap  |  SC Recap (w/ video)  |  OU Recap  |  Notes  |  Quotes
Photos (AP)  |  Photos (SC)  |  Photos (OU)
Video Highlights  |  SC Postgame Video  |  OU Postgame Video 

2012 CWS Bracket Two

TEAMCONF.RECORDBAR/GMHR/
Sac Bunts
SLG%OBPSB-Att.FLD%ERACGSVKBBOPP.BA
FloridaSEC47-18.2845.975/42.452.36066-92.9792.90318489132.241
South CarolinaSEC45-17.2715.341/62.398.35838-62.9793.06025513191.222
ArkansasSEC44-20.2735.238/41.389.35663-96.9692.90015517207.231
Kent
State
MAC46-18.3026.843/27.442.37952-71.9743.49119525232.246

 

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