Gamecocks earn shot at three-peat


Saturday, June 23, 2012 12:56 AM
Last updated 1:32 AM
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OMAHA, Neb. — Tyler Webb and Matt Price combined for seven innings of shutout relief, and two-time defending national champion South Carolina returned to the College World Series finals with a 3-2 win over Arkansas on Friday night.

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South Carolina's Adam Matthews catches a fly ball hit by Arkansas' Matt Reynolds during the third inning.  ASSOCIATED PRESS
South Carolina's Adam Matthews catches a fly ball hit by Arkansas' Matt Reynolds during the third inning.

The Gamecocks (49-18) took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning on Barrett Astin’s two-out, bases-loaded walk to Adam Matthews.

South Carolina will play Arizona in the best-of-three finals beginning Sunday.

The Gamecocks are trying to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since Southern California won five in a row from 1970-74.

The Gamecocks beat Arkansas twice in three CWS meetings over five days after winning two of three against the Razorbacks during the Southeastern Conference regular season.

Arkansas had ended South Carolina’s record 22-game win streak in the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 win on Monday. The Gamecocks forced a second bracket championship game with their 2-0 win on Thursday.

As expected, Friday’s rematch came down to pitching.

The Gamecocks erased a 2-0 deficit in the fifth, with Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale walking Christian Walker with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. Baxendale had a career-high five walks.

Matthews looked ready to swing on a 3-2 pitch from Astin in the seventh, but he held up as the slider dropped low and Joey Pankake trotted home for the go-ahead run.

The run ended the Arkansas bullpen’s streak of 26 scoreless innings.

Colby Suggs (7-1) took the loss for Arkansas (46-22).

Webb, who relieved Colby Holmes after the Hogs’ first two batters reached in the third, allowed two hits in four innings.

Price (5-4), who gave up one hit and struck out five, pitched three innings to earn his record fifth career win in the CWS. Of his 48 pitches, 37 were strikes.

Price was spectacular for the second year in a row in the bracket final. Last year he entered a 2-2 game against Virginia and worked 5 2-3 scoreless innings in a 3-2, 13-inning victory.


GAME 1: Arizona (46-17) vs. South Carolina (49-18), 8 p.m. Sunday

GAME 2: Arizona vs. South Carolina, 8 p.m. Monday

X-GAME 3: Arizona vs. South Carolina, 8 p.m. Tuesday

x-if necessary

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Riverman1 06/23/12 - 06:24 am
Go Cocks

Ray Tanner is a great coach. I had the pleasure of spending some time talking with him when he came to Lakeside a few years ago to scout a player. He is down to earth, friendly and keeps his team lose it appears. Go Cocks.

Pops 06/23/12 - 07:16 am
Nolan Belcher

Tanner said last night the Sunday starter will either be Nolan Belcher or Forest Koumas.

etlinks 06/23/12 - 07:29 am

Once again its pitching although bad pitching on Arkansas's part. Back in the championship games is sweet. Keep it up Gamecocks! What ever happened to day games?

curly123053 06/23/12 - 07:50 am
Go Carolina and SEC !

I am proud of the Carolina Gamecocks getting to this final series 3 years in a row. It seems as though the SEC has owned the national championships of the major sports this year and last. The SEC won the national titles in football, basketball, and just in the last week or 2 won the NCAA softball title if I am correct. Now we can top it off with the SEC capturing the CWS. I had always seen the SEC as being more of a football conference, but they seem to be showing up good in the other sports. Good luck Gamecocks!!

Riverman1 06/23/12 - 08:11 am
There was a shot of Nolan

There was a shot of Nolan Belcher sitting in the bullpen last night with another pitcher. I was feeling sorry for him, but if he can start Sunday, it will be fantastic. He had pitched a great complete game again Ark before he got hurt two years ago.

Carolina used their two best starters Thurs. and I was counting the days until they'll be able to pitch again. Nolan needs to use the off speed stuff a lot. I know one thing, no matter the score Noland and the other guy are going to he kept in. The big guys come back Monday and Tuesday with rested arms.

Another source say, "Arizona is lined up to start sophomore Konner Wade in the first game of the championship series. Wade has thrown back-to-back complete-game victories over St. John's and UCLA, walking none."

Gamecocks5 06/23/12 - 12:37 pm
It's amazing to think that

It's amazing to think that this year was supposed to be a "rebuilding" year for South Carolina, and look where they're at; competing for a third straight National Championship. Ray Tanner is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, coaches in the country. He seems to get the most out of what he has in every team, year in and year out. Congrats to the guys and here's to a hopeful 3-peat! Go Cocks!

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