South Carolina starting pitcher Blake Cooper. Image Via: AP Photo/Nati Harnik
When you only allow two runs in two games, it’s a safe bet that you’re going to win a lot of baseball games. And behind a stellar pitching performance, the South Carolina Gamecocks just won the biggest game of them all.
With a dramatic 2-1, 11-inning victory, South Carolina beat the UCLA Bruins two games to none in the best-of-three College World Series Championship.
The Gamecocks used a small ball to score the winning run. After leadoff hitter Scott Wingo walked, he made it to second on a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt by Evan Marzilli moved him to third. With the infield in, Whit Merrifield drove a single to right for the game winning run.
It was the sixth win in a row for South Carolina since they dropped their CWS opener to Oklahoma, and once again, pitching was their strong suit. In their last five contests, the Gamecocks allowed only eight runs.
Michael Roth started for South Carolina and allowed only one run in five innings of work. For a while, it looked like that might be one run too many, as UCLA starter Rob Rasmussen threw six scoreless innings.
But down to their final six outs, South Carolina prevailed with a little help from the Bruins.
After Brady Thomas led off with a single, and pinch runner Robert Beary went to second on a ground out, Bobby Haney’s sharp ground ball to first wound up in the outfield after being misplayed. The unearned run knotted the game at 1-1.
UCLA nearly extended their season in the top of the 9th. With two outs, they loaded the bases on a single, error and walk, but Niko Gallego, son of former major-leaguer Mike Gallego, struck out.
South Carolina finishes the year 54-16, while UCLA ends theirs at 51-17. South Carolina’s Jackie Bradley Jr. was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.