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South Carolina defeats UVA 3-2 to Advance to Championship Series

OMAHA, Neb. –South Carolina used two Virginia errors in the 13th inning to plate the game-winning run in a thrilling 3-2 victory Tuesday night at the 2011 Men’s College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. The game was played before a TD Ameritrade Park Omaha record crowd of 25,882.

The defending champion Gamecocks (53-14) advance to their second MCWS finals and will face the Florida Gators (53-17) in a best-of-three series beginning Monday at 8 p.m. ET. No. 1 national seed Virginia finishes its season at 56-12.

After a Brady Thomas single to open the 13th for the Gamecocks, Peter Mooney reached on a fielder’s choice as fresh Virginia reliever Cody Winiarski overthrew second base to put South Carolina runners on first and second. Robert Beary, the very next batter, also laid down a bunt that Winiarski mistakenly fired into the third base dugout. The errant throw allowed pinch runner Adam Matthews to scamper home for the walk off.

Both teams combined to leave 29 runners on base, however, the Cavaliers managed to go just 2-for-21 with runners aboard, loading the bases in the 10th, 12th and 13th innings without producing a run.

In a wild game that started with a face-off between two aces, Virginia’s Danny Hultzen fanned the first six batters he faced. The southpaw lasted just three innings, however, while South Carolina’s Michael Roth threw seven frames allowing just one run on four hits.

Neither starter factored into the decision as the outcome relied on both bullpens. For Virginia, Kyle Crockett and Branden Kline chipped in nine combined innings before Winiarksi entered in the 13th. Matt Price (7-3) tossed the final 5.2 innings for the Gamecocks, holding UVa scoreless despite allowing five walks and seven hits to pick up the win.

Before the extra innings and dramatic outcome, Virginia jumped to a 1-0 lead, cashing in a Steve Proscia walk in the second inning to go ahead 1-0. The Cavaliers would not score again until the eighth inning.

After UVa pitching combined to retire 10 of 11 Gamecocks to start the game, South Carolina saw four-straight batters reach base off Crockett, producing two runs to claim a 2-1 advantage. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Christian Walker roped a double to right field. Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a base hit to the shortstop and Adrian Morales was plunked by a pitch to load the bases.

Brady Thomas capitalized by driving in a pair with a double to left as South Carolina claimed a 2-1 edge. Crockett avoided any further damage, however, when Mooney’s pop fly resulted in a double play as right fielder David Coleman gunned down Morales at the plate to end the inning.

Just like South Carolina’s 13th inning, the Cavaliers would tie it in the eighth on two Gamecock errors. With no outs, Chris Taylor reached on a fielding miscue at third, moved to second on a sac bunt and knotted it up on an error at short, 2-2. Virginia ended the inning on a double play, however, a feat they would repeat in the 12th and 13th as well.

The battle of the bullpens continued as both relief corps held the opposite team scoreless over the next four innings until the pair of errors decided the game in the 13th.

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