South Carolina's quest for a third NCAA title in a row begins Friday

  • Follow Baseball

South Carolina already holds a special spot in college baseball history. After back-to-back College World Series titles, the Gamecocks will take a swing at becoming one of the sport’s rare dynasties.

South Carolina celebrated its NCAA title after beating Florida 5-2 in Game 2 of the best-of-three series last year. The Gamecocks are bringing back pitching stars Michael Roth and closer Matt Price, who will be a starter this year.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
South Carolina celebrated its NCAA title after beating Florida 5-2 in Game 2 of the best-of-three series last year. The Gamecocks are bringing back pitching stars Michael Roth and closer Matt Price, who will be a starter this year.

Just the sixth school to win two consecutive championships, South Carolina begins its quest today for a third in a row as the aluminum pings of spring start up at college ballparks around the country.

The Gamecocks open up by playing host to VMI at 3 p.m.

Only Rod Dedeaux’s 1970-74 Southern California squads have won three or more consecutive national titles in Division I baseball.

“We have expectations in this program,” Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. “Our players have it, fans have it and we are just going to do the best we can. I have never been one to talk about the future and setting goals and objectives, all of those things. We are just trying to have a good practice and get better each time out there.”

While the Gamecocks’ lineup has a few new faces, Tanner’s pitching rotation includes two of the country’s best hurlers in left-hander Michael Roth and righty Matt Price, who’s moving from the closer’s role after saving 30 games his first two seasons.

“We want to go out there and win, and I don’t get involved in all the hoopla about hype or whatever,” said Roth, who went 14-3 with a 1.06 ERA that ranked second-best in the country. “I just come out here and try to give the team a chance to win.”

South Carolina will have plenty of competition on the road to another title.

Florida, Stanford, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas all appear to have championship-caliber teams.

After falling two victories shy – against the Gamecocks – of their first College World Series title, the Gators are ranked No. 1 in every major preseason poll.

Arkansas joins Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana State and Vanderbilt as teams with a legitimate shot at giving the Southeastern Conference four consecutive College World Series titles; Louisiana State University won in 2009.



LAST SEASON: 40-22, Regionals appearance

EXTRA BASES: RHP D.J. Baxendale leads staff that returns nine pitchers who threw at least 20 innings last season.


LAST SEASON: 53-19, CWS runner up

EXTRA BASES: The Gators are ranked No. 1 in every major preseason poll while returning several big-time bats and perhaps best starting pitching trio in country (RHPs Hudson Randall and Karsten Whitson and LHP Brian Johnson.


LAST SEASON: 42-21, Regionals appearance

EXTRA BASES: They tied school record with 22 wins last season in ACC, and have been to NCAA Tournament 11 times in 12 years.


LAST SEASON: 51-16, CWS appearance

EXTRA BASES: Hard-throwing LHP Kent Emanuel had outstanding freshman season and moves into No. 1 spot in rotation as sophomore.


LAST SEASON: 55-14, CWS champion

EXTRA BASES: Coach Ray Tanner had to retool and reload lineup after losing some major contributors, but 1B Christian Walker remains one of nation’s most powerful and productive hitters.


LAST SEASON: 35-22, Super regionals appearance

EXTRA BASES: Stanford has seven everyday starters from last year’s squad, including entire outfield.


LAST SEASON: 49-19, CWS appearance

EXTRA BASES: Longhorns have several key players back from last year’s CWS team, including LHPs Sam Stafford and Hoby Milner, who give Texas a solid 1-2 punch.


LAST SEASON: 47-22, CWS appearance

EXTRA BASES: OF Tyler Naquin was Big 12 Player of the Year, led Division I players in hits with 104, topped conference in batting average and had 27-game hitting streak – one shy of school record. Also terrific defensive outfielder.

– Associated Press

Comments (1) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1 02/17/12 - 09:35 pm
I spoke with Tanner when he

I spoke with Tanner when he came to Lakeside to scout someone and he's a great coach because he is so down-to-earth. I just hope a little lefthander from Greenbrier gets it back this year.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Arraignment coming Tuesday in Irish Travelers case
A total of 22 people - 20 identified as Travelers and two from Augusta - face racketeering charges under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.