For his last performance at Carolina Stadium, USC lefthander Michael Roth did what he’s done everytime out in NCAA Tournament play. Win.
Roth scattered six hits and stranded nine baserunners over 7.2 innings as the Gamecocks defeated Oklahoma 5-0 in game one of the Super Regional in Columbia. The Gamecocks can earn a third straight trip to the College World Series in Omaha with a win over the Sooners Sunday night.
Roth battled his way thru trouble all night but came up with the big pitch, and got some key defensive plays, to team with Tyler Webb to hand Oklahoma its fourth shutout loss of the season.
Roth is 6-0 in his career in NCAA Tournament play and 7-1 this season. With his performance, Roth lowered his career NCAA Tournament ERA to 1.10.
The Gamecocks extended their NCAA Tournament record winning streak to 20, and their home tournament winning streak to 23. Oklahoma was the last team to beat the Gamecocks in the tournament, and that happened in the 2010 CWS.
AUDIO: USC press conference: [20:53]
(Ray Tanner, Evan Marzilli, Christian Walker & Michael Roth)
AUDIO: Oklahoma press conference [6:06]
(Sunny Golloway, Caleb Bushyhead & Dillon Overton)
The Gamecocks scored the only runs they needed in the second inning. With runners on first and second, LB Dantzler doubled to center to score Adam Matthews from second. Eric Payne took third on the play and then scored on a wild pitch. Chase Vergason got Dantzler home with a sacrifice fly to center.
Sooners’ coach Sunny Golloway removed starter Jordan John to start the third and he kept the Gamecocks off the board thru the middle innings. But USC was able to pad its lead in the 7th.
Joey Pankake singled home Vergason from second to make it 4-0. Evan Marzilli beat out a bunt to third with Pankake moving to second. Christian Walker then got the run home with a single to left to make it a 5-0 game.
Roth danced in and out of trouble. He did not have a 1-2-3 inning until the sixth. In the second, Oklahoma had runners on first and second with one out and Roth got a fly out to center and a grounder to first.
In the fourth, he hit a batter and walked another with two outs, but got out of the inning with a fly ball to right.
In the 5th, Gamecock centerfielder Evan Marzilli misplayed a single that fell in front of him for a two base error allowing the runner to reach third. But Roth got the next batter to fly out to Walker to end the inning.
Those were the only real trouble spots for Roth who left to a rousing ovation after giving up a two out single in the 8th. And after a few moments in the dugout, Roth came back out to give a wave to the fans.
Tyler Webb finished up for the Gamecocks and set down all four batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts.
The Gamecocks are 44-17 and will send Colby Holmes to the mound Sunday night in an attempt to close out the Super Regional. Holmes is 7-1 with a 3.00 ERA. In his last outing, Holmes pitched eight innings of one hit ball in a win over Manhattan.
Oklahoma, which falls to 42-24 with the loss, will start righthander Jonathan Gray who is 8-4 with a 3.32 ERA. He allowed five hits and one run over seven innings in hs outing at the regional last week.