CWS Recap Days 1-3: Stony Brook says farewell, Gamecocks defeat Florida


Well.  I’m officially out of the business of making predictions, as I have really been falling flat this year.  It’s been three great days of baseball, and I’m pretty sure today’s games will be equally awesome.  Today’s games are at 5 and 9 p.m. EST on ESPN2 or ESPN3.com.

We’re going to recap this out-of-order, because this is a Gamecocks’ blog, so we should start with them.

Day Two, Bracket Two:

Let’s be honest.  This bracket is the reason you’re reading this.  It’s the one that features 3 SEC teams and the 2 time defending National Champion Gamecocks (saying that will never get old).  We’ll get to the Gamecocks shortly, so just bear with me…

In the first game, Kent State, the only non-SEC team in this bracket, got a crash course in SEC baseball.  They were held to  4 hits and 1 run by Arkansas’ formidable pitching roster.  Arkansas, on the other hand, had a 3-0 lead going into the 6th inning.  By the time the 9th rolled around, the Hogs were on top 8-1.  And that’s how it ended.  Kent State now has to play Florida in an elimination game.  This could get ugly.

Now onto what was probably the most highly anticipated CWS game ever: South Carolina at Florida.  The Gamecocks and the Gators are old frenemies.  They played each other 3 times in the regular season, with Florida winning twice.  Then in the SEC tournament, the Gators won again.  The Gamecocks put a quick stop to that bit of Florida domination with a 7-3 win on Saturday night.  Michael Roth, as we’ve all come to expect, had a pretty stellar outing, going 6 1/3 and allowing 3 runs on 7 hits.  Tyler Webb came in and worked his magic to get 2 quick outs to end the 7th, and then it was Matt Price time.  Price pitched the last two innings, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3, on his way to earning his 12th save this season, and setting the SEC record for career saves at 42.

But let’s be honest.  Price wouldn’t even have been in the game if it hadn’t been for some stellar defense and timely hitting from the Gamecocks.  Florida scored 2 runs in the 3rd, to give themselves the early lead.  The Gators’ pitcher, Brian Johnson, was dealing, and for awhile it looked like the ‘Cocks might be headed for a date with Kent State.  And then the 5th inning happened.  The Gamecocks exploded for 5 runs to take the lead for good.  Evan Marzilli led off the inning with a double, which Christian Walker followed with a single.  Adam Matthews walked to load the bases. Erik Payne came up and smacked a triple to right center field to give the Gamecocks a 3-2 edge.  LB Dantzler then launched a double to center field, scoring Payne.  Dantzler was bunted to 3rd by Tanner English, and then scored on a single from Chase Vergason.  5-2 Gamecocks headed to the bottom of the 5th.  Florida scored in the bottom of the inning, but that was it.  Thanks to a bit of Florida self-destruction, the Gamecocks tacked on a pair in the 9th after a couple wild pitches and errant throws.  Gamecocks take game 1 from the top-seeded Gators, 7-3.

Now onto the defense.  While Florida was imploding, South Carolina was diving all over the field.  Literally.  It started with Michael Roth diving off the mound to catch a pop-up bunt.  Then Chase Vergason got in on the action, flinging himself sideways to keep a ball from leaving the infield, and still making the play at 2nd base.  Then Dante Rosenberg got in on the action, falling face first to the side of home plate to cut off a wild throw.  And then there was Evan Marzilli, who leaped halfway across the outfield to complete an outstanding catch to start the 8th inning.  The catch was good enough for the number 6 spot on Sports Center, and spawned all kinds of witticisms like the one that captions this picture:

Photo by Juan Blas of The Big Spur

In case you had something better to do than watch Gamecock baseball, you can watch the catch here:

Once again, the Gamecocks showed that they know how to play in Omaha.  The win over Florida upped South Carolina’s post-season win streak to 22, and 12 consecutive CWS wins.  What an amazing run.

Florida will face Kent State in an elimination game today at 5 p.m.  South Carolina and Arkansas will meet at 9 p.m.  Both games will be on ESPN2 or ESPN3.com  The loser of the South Carolina/Arkansas game will play the winner of Florida/Kent State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3.com.

Bracket One games after the jump….

Day One, Bracket One:

I wanted so badly for Stony Brook to make a run at the title, but UCLA had other plans.  The Bruins went up on the Seawolves early, leading 7-0 by the 3rd inning.  After that, UCLA cruised along, ultimately beating Stony Brook 9-1.

The second game of the day as a bit more exciting.  Florida State and Arizona were locked in a 3-3 tie from the 6th inning forward.  Finally, in the top of the 12th, Arizona’s Johnny Field hit an RBI double, driving in the winning run.  The Wildcats managed to hold off the ‘Noles in the bottom of the inning, to win the game 4-3.

Day Three, Bracket One:

In the first elimination game of the CWS, it was like watching the Tallahassee Super Regional.  FSU put up 12 runs on Stony Brook, to stay alive in the post season.  The Seawolves made a few mistakes, and the ‘Noles were able to capitalize on them.  Stony Brook was able to push 2 runs across late in the game, but it was too little, too late.  With a 12-2 win, FSU sent Stony Brook back to Long Island.  The Seawolves had a heck of a run, and I would expect to see Omaha’s darlings back  in town sometime soon.

On the winner’s side of the bracket, the Pac-12 co-champions faced off.  The first three innings featured some stellar pitching, with each side throwing a n0-hitter.  Finally, with one out in the 4th, Arizona broke through against UCLA with 5 consecutive hits to score 4 runs.  And that was that.  Thanks to Konner Wade’s complete game shutout, the Wildcats won 4-0 and are now one win away from the title series.

Florida State and UCLA play in an elimination game on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST.  The winner will face Arizona on Thursday at 5 p.m.


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Posted on June 18, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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