If you're a fan of the University of South Carolina's baseball team, then you've got to feel destiny is on your side at the College World Series.
How else do you explain the strange series of events that have the Gamecocks on the brink of another national championship?
The evidence, part I:
Virginia's best pitcher mows down the Gamecocks early Friday night, but leaves the game and South Carolina ekes out a win in 13 innings. Never mind how many runners the Cavaliers stranded. A throwing error brings in the winning run.
The evidence, part II:
Monday night against Florida, South Carolina couldn't do squat for seven innings. Then Scott Wingo drives in a run, then comes up with huge defensive plays when it looked like Florida would surely walk off with the Game 1 victory.
Christian Walker, aka Roy Hobbs of 'Natural' fame, defied a broken bone in his wrist to play and get multiple hits. The latter came in the 11th, and when the big guy stole second, it set off a chain of events that allowed him to cross the plate. Again, a throwing error brings in the winning run.
Then there's the pitching. Closer Matt Price threw nearly 100 pitches Friday night against Virginia, but he came out Monday night to shut down Florida in the bottom of the 11th to seal the win.
The Gamecocks have overcome multiple injuries this season. Star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. suffered a wrist injury and missed a good chunk of the season.
Former Greenbrier star Nolan Belcher missed the entire season thanks to Tommy John surgery. Read more: http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/college/2011-01-31/belcher-miss-season
Fate, destiny, lady luck -- whatever you call it -- has not historically been kind to South Carolina. The Gamecocks' lack of success on the national stage is well documented. ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser could easily rattle off South Carolina's two big successes -- last year's CWS title and the women's track and field championship from 2002. But he couldn't list all of Florida's national titles. It's 26, in case you were wondering.
Diehard Gamecock fans know it's too early to start counting their chickens. But with top pitcher Michael Roth on the mound tonight, and just one more victory against the Gators needed for the crown, they've got to feel like destiny is on their side.