CWS Game 3 Report: South Carolina vs. Oklahoma

Rain caused the start of Day 2 of the College World Series to be delayed 4 hours and 15 minutes, the Gamecocks and Sooners ended up taking the field at 5:25.  In the top of the first inning, the Gamecocks would get an early threat as Whit Merrifield getting a four pitch 1 out walk which was followed by a single by Jackie Bradley that put runners on the corners, Michael Rocha was bailed out early by his catcher Tyler Ogle, who backpicked Bradley off of first base, and then followed that up by striking out Adrian Morales.

Ogle’s solid play would carry over to the offense in the bottom of the first where he delivered a 2-out single that scored Chris Ellison, and then stopped a potential big 2nd inning for the Gamecocks, gunning Brady Thomas out at 2nd base on a steal attempt after Christian Walker’s leadoff homerun that tied the game at 1.

Oklahoma’s Sonny Galloway was impressed by Ogle’s play tonight saying “ He’s getting the job done back there also. And another guy stepping up. And it’s got the “it” factor working for him.” These two plays by Ogle were very important to the momentum of the game and set the tone that the Gamecocks can’t run at will on him.

In the bottom of the second, Oklahoma answered the homer with one of their own when Caleb Bushyhead sent a ball over the right field fence, the only hit of the inning against Blake Cooper. South Carolina countered a Jackie Bradley solo shot to right that was about 8 rows from leaving the stadium with a RBI single to right in the 4th. Oklahoma came right back in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own as Caleb Bushyhead got a two out RBI single to score Cody Reine to retake the lead at 3-2.

That’s where scoring stopped as play was halted in the middle of the 6th inning due to lightning when we went into a hour and 34 minute rain delay.

When the teams returned to the field both coach decided to take out their starting pitchers. South Carolina starter Blake Cooper ended up pitching five innings allowing six hits with three runs (all earned) while striking out five batters while walking only one batter. Cooper was battling an arm injury from the Super Regionals where he was hit in the dugout by foul ball.

He said the following about the hand: “No, my hand didn’t affect me. It feels fine. I made some good pitches and they hit some good pitches. The changeup the guy hit out was right over the middle of the plate. Bad pitch. I was trying to get ahead in the count, and they came out swinging. A lot of their guys swing early.

And that could be a good thing for them or it could be a good thing for us. I make a good pitch, it’s probably out. But unfortunately for me, I made a bad pitch and he hit it out”

Michael Rocha wasn’t overly dominant in his start, but lasted six innings allowing five hits and two runs while giving up three walks. He was effective but wasn’t anything outstanding.

The teams would return to the field at 9pm (local time) where neither team would threaten until the bottom of the eighth inning when Garrett Buechele hammered a hanging curveball from sidewinder Jose Mata to give the Sooners the 4-2 lead.

They needed that run though as South Carolina would get back to back singles from Kyle Enders and Robert Beary off of Oklahoma reliever Jeremy Erben. OU coach Sunny Golloway would make the move to closer Ryan Duke to try to get out of the inning. He would start off well striking out pinch-hitter Adam Matthews on three pitches. He would then lose his control as he walked Evan Marzilli to load up the bases in a two run game. He then got a major break when Whit Merrifield fouled out to third for the second out of the inning. He then gave Jackie Bradley Jr. a four pitch walk to force home a run before Adrain Morales lined out to center field for the final out of the game.

Michael Rocha got the victory to up his record to 8-2 while Blake Copper gets the loss dropping his record to 12-2. Ryan Duke picked up his 12th save by pitching the final inning.

Oklahoma will face the winner of the Clemson/Arizona State game on Tuesday at 9pm (CT) while South Carolina will face off against the loser of that game at 4pm (CT)