The USC baseball team practiced Sunday afternoon at Creighton University in preperation for Monday night’s game against Arkansas. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks both won their CWS openers. The winner Monday night will be in command of their bracket and will need just one win Thursday night to advance to the CWS Championship Series.
Post practice interviews:
AUDIO: Ray Tanner [8:53]
AUDIO: Colby Holmes [3:04]
AUDIO: Christian Walker [1:16]
AUDIO: Grayson Greiner [2:28]
AUDIO: Michael Roth [3:13]
Notes from USC Sports Information:
South Carolina (46-17) returns to action on Monday night at the College World Series against Arkansas (45-20). First pitch is set for 9 p.m. ET with the game televised live on ESPN2 with Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Jessica Mendoza calling the action. It is also available on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game,” with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody behind the microphone.
South Carolina – Colby Holmes, RHP, Jr. (7-1, 2.80 ERA, 74.0 IP, 15 BB, 61 SO)
Arkansas – Ryne Stanek, RHP, So. (7-4, 2.91 ERA, 86.2 IP, 33 BB, 80 SO
ARKANSAS SERIES RECAP
South Carolina has defeated Arkansas in seven of the last nine games played between the two schools in the last three years including a series victory this past season in Fayetteville. The Gamecocks rallied from six runs down for an 8-6 win in 10 innings in the opener, fell 7-6 in game two and came away with the rubber game with a 10-7 victory in the series finale.
South Carolina hit .302 (32-for-106) vs. the Razorbacks with six doubles and three homers as well. It was the third best hitting performance by Carolina in a SEC series this year.
South Carolina currently owns a 22-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament dating back to the 2010 season as well as 12 straight wins at the College World Series. Both streaks are NCAA records.
THE LAST THREE YEARS
South Carolina’s 27-1 record over the last three years in the NCAA Tournament is the best three-year tournament winning percentage in NCAA history (must appear in tournament in at least two of the three years to qualify).
Senior left-hander Michael Roth improved to 8-1 on the year with the victory vs. Florida on Saturday night. With the win, Roth became just the fourth pitcher in history with a CWS win in three different seasons (2010, 2011, 2012). The others to accomplish the feat are Carl Thomas of Arizona (1954, 1955, 1956), Greg Widman of Southern California (1970, 1971, 1972) and Allan Westfall of Miami (1994, 1995, 1996).
Roth is now 25-6 for his career at South Carolina. He has 338.2 career innings, ninth highest in school history with 92 career appearances as a Gamecocks, second only to current teammate Matt Price.
Junior first baseman Christian Walker tallied two hits in the victory over Florida on Saturday. He is now at 242 career hits, just three shy of Hank Small (1972-75), who is 10th on the All-Time list at South Carolina with 245. Walker has put together 22 career hits at the College World Series and is six short of the record of 28 set by Dustin Ackley of North Carolina.
Walker leads the Gamecocks in hitting for the season with a .318 average (71-for-223), 11 homers and 54 RBI. He has a .442 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging percentage as well.
Junior right-hander Matt Price hurled two scoreless innings of relief in the 7-3 win over Florida. The save was Price’s 12th of the season and his 42nd career save. He surpassed Josh Fields of Georgia (2005-08) for the all-time SEC record with the save on Saturday night and sits at eighth all-time in NCAA history.
Price is 4-4 on the year with a 3.38 ERA and 12 saves in 72.0 innings pitched. He has 85 strikeouts to just 29 walks with opponents hitting just .198 against him.
Over three seasons, Price has made 18 relief appearances in the NCAA Tournament and he has not allowed a run in 16 of those 18 relief appearances.
Junior infielder Chase Vergason is the team’s leading hitter in the 2012 postseason. Vergason is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with a run scored, two doubles and six RBI. He also has a .522 on-base percentage in six postseason games in 2012.
Vergason has raised his batting average to .268 (30-for-112) on the year and he has a .410 on-base percentage for the year. Vergason has reached base in 10 consecutive games.
Freshman outfielder Tanner English leads the Gamecocks with 23 multi-hit games. He was 2-for-3 in the 7-3 win over Florida. For the season, English is hitting .311 (70-for-225), second highest batting average on the year with 41 runs scored and 22 RBI. He also has stolen 10 bases.
Junior outfielder Evan Marzilli tallied a pair of doubles and scored a run in the 7-3 win over Florida. Marzilli raised his batting average to .291 (72-for-247) with 51 runs scored. He has 14 doubles, three triples, two homers and 30 RBI.
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes limited Oklahoma to one hit in five innings of work in the 5-1 win over the Sooners. In his start before that, he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of the 7-0 win over Manhattan. He struck out a career-high nine batters and yielded just one hit in the outing to earn the victory. He was named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.
Holmes is 7-1 on the year with a 2.80 ERA in 74.0 innings pitched with 61 strikeouts to just 15 walks.
LB Dantzler went 2-for-5 with a RBI double and two runs scored in the 7-3 win over Florida. Dantzler is hitting .391 (9-for-23) for the postseason with six runs scored and three RBI. Dantzler owns a .266 average with nine homers and 46 RBI.
2012 SOUTH CAROLINA-ARKANSAS SERIES
GAME ONE RECAP – South Carolina (8), Arkansas (6) – 10 inn.
Trailing 6-0 after three innings, South Carolina stormed back to score eight unanswered runs on the way to an 8-6 victory in 10 innings over Arkansas on Friday evening in the series opener at Baum Stadium. Evan Marzilli drove in the winning run with a RBI double and would score an insurance run on Grayson Greiner’s RBI base hit.
Freshman right-hander Evan Beal earned the win. He hurled three scoreless innings of relief with just one hit allowed. Junior right-hander Matt Price hurled a perfect 10th inning to pick up a save. Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin suffered the loss. He allowed two runs on three hits in 2.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
With the Gamecocks behind 6-0 entering the top of the fourth, the rally would begin as Carolina cut the deficit in half. Marzilli had a bunt for a base hit and Christian Walker drew a walk to open the frame. LB Dantzler drove in Marzilli with a double to right field. With runners in scoring position, Grayson Greiner and Kyle Martin would drive in the next two runs on a pair of sacrifice flies.
The Gamecocks tied it at 6-6 in the top of the sixth inning. Dantzler opened the inning with a base hit to right field, his second hit of the evening. Greiner would then square up a pitch from Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek for a home run to left field, his sixth homer of the season and the first home run allowed all year by the Arkansas right-hander. Trailing by a run, the Gamecocks loaded the bases as Tanner English was hit by a pitch, Matthews had a bunt for a base hit and Chase Vergason singled to the gap in left-center. Joey Pankake would drive in English with a sac fly to right field that tied the game.
It stayed that way until the 10th inning, when the Gamecocks made their move. Joey Pankake reached base on a single up the middle. On the play, he would move into scoring position as Arkansas shortstop Tim Carver threw wide of first base trying to nab Pankake. With Pankake in scoring position, Marzilli drove a RBI double into the gap in left-center that gave Carolina a one-run lead. After a two-out walk to Dantzler gave the Gamecocks two runners on base, Greiner gave Carolina insurance with a single up the middle. Hustling all the way from second base, Marzilli reached home as Arkansas catcher Jake Wise could not come up with the thrown from Carver allowing Marzilli to score. With an 8-6 lead, Price navigated through the heart of the Arkansas order recording three consecutive outs to seal the victory.
GAME TWO RECAP Arkansas (7), South Carolina (6)
South Carolina and Arkansas went back and forth with three lead changes throughout the game but a two-run sixth inning for the Razorbacks and an insurance run in the eighth inning lifted Arkansas to a 7-6 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas reliever Tyler Wright earned the win in relief with 1.2 scoreless innings of work. South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery suffered the loss. He allowed five runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in five-plus innings of work. Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin earned his ninth save of the season allowing one run on two hits in one inning with one strikeout.
Arkansas tallied 17 hits on the afternoon. Tim Carver and Derrick Bleeker were each 3-for-4 with Matt Reynolds 3-for-5 with two RBI. Bo Bigham, Jacob Morris and Matt Vinson all had two hits apiece as well. Christian Walker went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to pace the nine-hit attack for the Gamecocks.
GAME THREE RECAP South Carolina (10), Arkansas (7)
Scoreless through sixth innings, South Carolina erupted for a combined 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings and held on for a 10-7 victory over Arkansas to win the rubber game of the three-game series.
Gamecock right-hander Matt Price earned the win in relief and is now 4-3 on the year after working the final 3.2 innings of the game. Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale suffered the loss and is now 6-3 for the season. He allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Baxendale and Carolina starter Forrest Koumas were very effective through the first two-thirds of the game with neither allowing a base runner to cross home plate. Koumas, in his second start of the year, went 5.1 scoreless innings and allowed two walks and five hits with four strikeouts.
Arkansas threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning loading the bases with one out against Koumas. Jacob Mahan singled, as did Dominic Ficociello and Matt Reynolds walked to fill the bases for the Razorbacks. With Price on in relief for the Gamecocks, South Carolina kept it at 0-0 as a flyout by Derrick Bleeker turned into a double play as right fielder Adam Matthews heaved a perfect throw to catcher Grayson Greiner, who tagged out Mahan to keep the game scoreless.
Carolina rode the momentum of the double play into the seventh inning scoring four times against Baxendale to take a 4-0 lead. Christian Walker led off with a base hit. On the play, an errant throw by Baxendale off the mound went past Ficociello at first allowing Walker to advance into scoring position. With one out and Walker still on second base, Arkansas elected to intentionally walk Greiner. With two outs and runners still on first and second base, Matthews followed his heroics on the field with a RBI base hit up the middle scoring Walker for the first run of the game. Chase Vergason followed with a base hit up the middle as well to score Greiner and Tanner English kept the hit parade going as he singled to center field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.
Arkansas answered in the bottom of the seventh with three runs to cut the Gamecock lead to 4-3. The Razorbacks strung together four consecutive hits to open the frame with singles from Bo Bigham, Brian Anderson, Jacob Morris and Jake Wise. Morris’ single would score a pair of runners with Wise’s base hit giving the Razorbacks runners on first and second with no outs. Tim Carver would sacrifice both of them into scoring position. With one out and runners on second and third, Mahan tallied his second hit of the game with a base hit to right field. Morris would score but Matthews again came up with a stellar throw from the outfield as he threw out Wise trying to score the tying run at home plate. Upset over the play, Wise spiked his helmet and would be thrown out of the game. With two outs and Mahan on second base, Price got out of the inning with a groundout by Ficociello to keep Carolina ahead by a run.
The Gamecocks batted around in the top of the eighth inning and scored six more runs to extend the lead to 10-3. Joey Pankake led off the frame with a base hit off of Arkansas reliever Michael Gunn and Evan Marzilli was hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, the Razorbacks intentionally walked Walker to load the bases. Arkansas would bring on closer Barrett Astin, who struck out LB Dantzler for the first out of the inning. With one out, Grayson Greiner came up with a big hit as he knocked a RBI single into left field scoring a pair of runners. Michael Roth then roped a RBI double into the gap in left-center that also scored two runs. A two-out double to right field by Vergason and a RBI single up the middle by Tanner English gave the Gamecocks a seven-run lead.
The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters for the Gamecocks drove in all 10 runs on the afternoon. Vergason went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. English was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Greiner and Roth both drove in two runs. Arkansas had 15 hits with Ficociello 3-for-5. Mahan, Bigham, Anderson all had two hits apiece as well.