OMAHA, Neb. – The South Carolina Gamecocks became only the ninth team in College World Series history to win back-to-back national championships, recording a 5-2 win over the Florida Gators in game two of the College World Series championship finals Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
With the win, South Carolina (55-14) surpassed Texas (1983-84) for the most consecutive wins in the NCAA postseason. The Gamecocks end 2011 with 16-straight NCAA tournament victories and 11-consecutive CWS wins, also an NCAA record.
USC second baseman Scott Wingo earned Most Outstanding Player accolades after batting .333 (6-for-18) over five games in the series and displaying stellar defense throughout South Carolina’s route to defending its title. Wingo recorded four RBI, including three in the finals, and a .480 on-base percentage.
Backed by a solid start from Michael Roth, another dominant relief outing from Matt Price and a pair of RBI from Wingo, South Carolina became the 14th program to win multiple national titles.
South Carolina staked ace starter Roth (14-3) to a 3-0 lead after a three-run third inning. Peter Mooney led off the bottom of the frame with a double down the left field line. After a Robert Beary sacrifice bunt and an Evan Marzilli walk, USC secured runners on the corners. Wingo cashed in Mooney with a sacrifice fly to right as USC took a 1-0 edge.
Two batters later, after a Jackie Bradley Jr. walk, Christian Walker’s grounder to short escaped Nolan Fontana who was charged with an error as Beary scored and Bradley Jr. advanced to third. An infield single from Brady Thomas one batter later sent Bradley Jr. home and gave the Gamecocks the 3-0 lead off Florida starter Karsten Whitson (8-1).
Roth faced just two over the minimum and held the Gators scoreless until a Mike Zunino solo shot to lead off the fourth. The 2011 SEC Player of the Year drove a 1-2 offering over the left field wall for his 19th home run of the season to cut into the Gamecock lead 3-1.
The Gators threatened in the fifth and sixth putting a pair of runners aboard in each inning with no outs, but Roth worked out of any potential threats to maintain the USC lead.
Mooney matched Zunino’s solo home run with one of his own to lead off the fifth. The shortstop slammed his fourth long ball of the season to right field to push the South Carolina advantage to 4-1.
Roth surrendered just one additional run to Florida in the eighth inning when Zunino doubled with one out and came around to score on a Josh Adams single two batters later to make it 4-2 South Carolina.
The Gamecocks stole the run back, however, plating a single tally in the eighth with Wingo’s second RBI of the night, an RBI single to score Beary and extend South Carolina’s lead to 5-2. Price, who entered with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth, notched his 20th save of the season after appearing in Friday and Monday’s South Carolina wins, where he earned a win and a save, respectively.
This marks the second runner-up finish for Florida (2005), who finished the 2011 season at 53-19.