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South Carolina edges Florida 2-1 in Game 1 of CWS Championship Series

OMAHA, Neb. – In a thrilling game one of the 2011 College World Series finals, South Carolina edged Florida, 2-1, using a stolen base and a two errors by the Gators in the top of the 11th to claim its 15th-straight NCAA tournament win Monday night at TD Ameritrade Park.

The Gamecocks, who trailed 1-0 through the first seven innings of the contest, plated an eighth-inning run to knot the game at 1-1 and used key defensive plays in the ninth and 10th to stay alive for their 11th-inning game-winning run.

South Carolina (54-14) and Florida (53-18) will duel in game two on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. The Gamecocks matched Texas’ (1983-84) record of 15-straight NCAA postseason wins with the victory tonight and have won 10-straight MCWS games.

After Florida starter Hudson Randall kept the South Carolina bats quiet through 7.2 innings, the defending national champions tagged the sophomore with one run in the eighth, capitalizing on a no-out walk to open the frame. Peter Mooney worked the free pass and advanced to third with a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly before Scott Wingo delivered a single up the middle to make it 1-1.

Randall had sat down 10 straight, retired 18 of 19 Gamecocks since the second inning and had not allowed a runner to third until the walk to Mooney and subsequent run in the eighth.

With the Gators threatening in the very next inning, Wingo, who delivered the game-tying RBI, put on a defensive display in the ninth inning to keep Florida off the board. With the bases loaded and nobody out, the junior second baseman snagged a liner and gunned down the Gator runner at home for the first out of the inning before starting a 4-2-3 double play to end the frame and send the contest to extra innings.

With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, the Gamecocks also gunned down the potential UF winning run at home as center fielder Jake Williams nabbed Cody Dent out at the plate.

South Carolina plated its winning run in the top of the 11th in unconventional fashion. Christian Walker, added late to the lineup due to a wrist injury, stroked a one-out single to center off Florida reliever Nick Maronde (0-1). With Brady Thomas at bat, Walker swiped second, moved to third when Gator catcher Mike Zunino’s throw sailed into center field and dashed home when Florida center fielder Bryson Smith overthrew the ball to third base. Walker’s run, scored off the stolen base and two errors, was all the Gamecocks would need as Matt Price shut the Gators down in the bottom of the 11th. John Taylor (8-1) earned the win for USC, pitching the scoreless ninth and 10th innings, while Price picked up his 19th save of the season.

Florida, who appeared to be on pace to shut the Gamecocks out, plated its first run in the bottom of the third. After a Tyler Thompson walk, Daniel Pigott’s grounder moved the runner to second before a wild pitch sent Thompson to third. Dent delivered a sacrifice fly to left to cash in Thompson and give the Gators to the 1-0 lead, one they would carry through seven innings.

  • Anonymous

    The Gamecocks defense was unbelievable. u00a0Most exciting game of the CWS so far. u00a0I wanted to hand South Carolina the Championship Trophy after the game.

  • Hsbaseballdad

    Wow what a game, I am looking forward to see who wins this one!

  • John E. Way

    Those errors will kill you. Similar to end of the Virginia game. What defenses plays! (John E. Way, Georgia)n

  • Jmcgone

    u00a0Shouldn’t Florida had squeezed at least once in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and no body out?u00a0 I mean the whole advantage to being the home team, in this case, is you only have to score one run at any point in the inning and the game is over.u00a0 And allowing the catcher to field the ball certainly appears to be better than Wingo fielding the ball.u00a0 That’s South Carolina, win anyways, Christian Walker, broken wrist and all with a base hit, just his 5th stolen base of the season, two Florida throwing errors later and they’re up one game to none.u00a0 u00a0

    • I disagree about squeezing as the first baseman and third baseman would have crashed and it was a force play at the plate. rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • Jmcgone

    Maybe but it seems like almost anything is better than hitting anywhere near Wingo.

    • That ball is 5 inches farmer to his right, the game goes to Florida. rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • Jmcgone

    Brian, is South Carolina beatable or are they the team destiny?u00a0 They seemed to struggle with their bunting last year at the world series and it took two well place bunts and two throwing errors in the top of the 13th to beat Virginia, who I thought was the best team in the country this year, that on top of getting a 5 two/third inning, 95 pitch performance out of their closer.u00a0 Christian Walker can’t even hold onto the bat in the bottom 9th with his broken wrist, and singles and steals only his 5th base in eight attempts this year, two Florida throwing errors later they’re one win away from their second consecutive title.u00a0 They’ve beaten the mighty Gators 3 out of 4 this year, Vanderbilt 2 out of 3, Virginia two straight.u00a0 Folks can talk about home runs, stolen bases, ERA, batting average and any other stats they want to bring up. u00a0u00a0 But when it comes to South Carolina it’s just about who they’ve beaten the last two years.

    • Destiny is the short answer…eighth or ninth most talented team in their own conference but they keep winning!rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • Jmcgone

    One more question, Brian, and ‘ll leave you alone.u00a0 How do you feel about Michael Roth, who despite dominating the SEC, seems to get no respect, 31st round pick, Jonathan Mayo a MLB draft guy mentions a guy named Salas at Oregon as having pitchabiilty, and never mentions Roth, how can you dominate a league like the SEC, heads and shoulders above everybody in college this year, some claim it is a AA caliber league, and not have pitchability.u00a0 I know he doesn’t have explosive stuff, but neither did Greg Maddox, and he did all right.

    • Roth is a perfect case of a great college pitcher but doesn’t have the elite fastball. I am still amazed he has been this good all year!rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • Jmcgone

    Brian, you don’t think an 85 mile an hour fast along with a 74 mile change up, with a good knowledge of pitching can create havoc at the next level,u00a0 I mean, again, Greg Maddox made a pretty good living at the next level without an elite fast ball or an electric 12-6 curve ball.

    • Few and far between actually can get away with it. He might be a left handed specialist at the next levelrnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

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