Gator Baseball Falls Short, Gamecocks Win Back-to-Back CWS Championships
The motto in the Florida Gator dugout was "Force Game Three". Gamecock pitcher Michael Roth made sure it didn't have to come to that. The South Carolina ace went seven and two-thirds innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, and held the Gators at bay on Tuesday night in a 5-2 Gamecock victory.
Florida freshman Karsten Whitson ran into trouble in the bottom of the third inning, giving up the first run of the game on a Scott Wingo sacrifice fly. That scored Gamecocks shortstop Peter Mooney, and then the Gamecocks made the Gator infield work. A fielding error by Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana scored Evan Marzilli, then next batter Brady Thomas beat an infield single to second to score Jackie Bradley, Jr. Whitson would get out of the inning, but only went four and two-thirds, with four strikeouts, four hits, and those three runs in the third.
The Gators answered back with SEC Player of the Year going long ball. Catcher Mike Zunino hit a leadoff solo homer to left in the top of the fourth inning. But when Florida had baserunners on, the Gators couldn't get the clutch base hits to keep innings alive. Instead, Florida's left-handed batters went 0-10 against Roth.
In the top of the eighth with the Gators down 4-1, senior Josh Adams delivered an RBI-single, scoring Mike Zunino from third. But pinch-hitter Tyler Thompson struck out against Gamecock closer Matt Price to end the threat.
Scott Wingo, named the Most Outstanding Player, chopped a one hopper over the infield in the bottom half of the eighth, scoring teammate Robert Beary and providing an insurance run. But Matt Price retired all three Gators he faced in the ninth, ending the game and clinching South Carolina's second consecutive College World Series Championship.
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