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Tuesday June 28, 2011South Carolina Downs Florida, 5-2, To Repeat As National Champion

Omaha, Neb.

South Carolina (55-14) claimed its second-straight national championship by defeating Florida (53-19), 5-2, to sweep the best-of-three CWS Championship Finals in front of a record crowd of 26,721 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Tuesday night. The Gamecocks plated three runs in the third inning and relied on the stellar pitching of junior left-hander Michael Roth (14-3) to become the first program since Oregon State in 2006-07 to take home the College World Series title in back-to-back seasons. USC also extended its own NCAA records with its 16th Tourney win in a row and 11th-consecutive CWS triumph.  

 

Roth limited the Gators to two runs on five hits over 7.2 innings to earn the win, while redshirt sophomore Matt Price finished the game by retiring all four batters he faced to collect his 20th save. CWS Most Outstanding Player senior Scott Wingo was 1-for-3 and drove in a couple of runs and junior Peter Mooney went 2-for-3 with a double during the three-run third and had a solo homer in the sixth.  

 

Freshman Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) (8-1) took the loss for UF after a 4.2-inning stint in which he gave up four hits and three runs (one earned) and sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was 3-for-3 and belted his 19th homer to pace the squad’s offense. Senior outfielder Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) and sophomore third baseman Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) represented the Orange and Blue on the 2011 NCAA College World Series All-Tournament Team.

 

Florida had two runners aboard with one down in the first inning but could not push anything across against Roth. Smith opened the game with an eight-pitch at bat that resulted in a single up the middle, increasing his hitting streak to 15 games. Sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) advanced Smith to second base with his 11th sacrifice hit and Zunino drew a walk for two Gators on base. Roth worked out of the jam by having junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) fly out to center field on back-to-back pitches.

 

After Wingo was hit by a pitch to begin the home part of the first, Whitson fanned junior Jackie Bradley, Jr., and had sophomore Christian Walker (2-for-4) tap into an inning-ending 4-3 double play.

 

The Gamecocks erupted for three runs on two hits and a critical Gator error in the third to build a 3-0 advantage. Mooney led off with a double into left field and was sacrificed to third base by senior Robert Beary. Sophomore Evan Marzilli drew a walk for runners on the corners and one down and Wingo’s sacrifice fly to right field was deep enough for Mooney to give USC a 1-0 lead. Whitson issued a two-out walk to Bradley, Jr., and then Fontana committed an error on a grounder by Walker that allowed Marzilli to score the second run and Bradley, Jr., to occupy third base. An infield single by senior Brady Thomas (2-for-4) brought home Bradley, Jr., for a three-run margin before senior Adrian Morales grounded out to end the inning.

 

Zunino started the fourth with his team-leading 19th homer to left field on a 1-2 offering from Roth to narrow the gap to 3-1. His blast tied the Gator single-season record for round-trippers by a catcher with David Ross (1998) and Tony Socarras (2000). It was just the third homer surrendered by Roth all season.

 

Whitson plunked junior Jake Williams to open the bottom of the frame and Mooney sacrificed his teammate over with a bunt. Whitson countered by having Beary fly out to right field and Marzilli ground out to hold the deficit at two runs.

 

Florida threatened in the fifth, as sophomore Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to begin the stanza and redshirt sophomore Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) followed with a base-hit into right field. However, Dent struck out trying to bunt and Roth had Smith ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

 

Whitson retired the first two South Carolina hitters of the fifth before Walker and Thomas connected on back-to-back singles into left field. The right-hander hit Morales to load the bases and was replaced by redshirt junior Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.). Over 4.2 innings, Whitson gave up four hits, three runs (one earned), with four strikeouts, three hit batters and two walks. Toledo put out the fire with a huge strikeout of Williams to keep the count at 3-1.

 

The Gators again put their first two batters aboard in the sixth but came away empty-handed. Fontana led off by being hit by a pitch and Zunino roped a single into left field. Roth struck out Tucker and had Adams ground out, moving both runners into scoring position, and the southpaw had junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) ground out to complete the frame.

 

Mooney extended USC’s lead to 4-1 by starting the home portion of the inning with homer into the right-field bullpen. It was his fourth homer of the year and the Gamecocks’ first of the NCAA College World Series. Toledo (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) had Beary pop up to Adams and was replaced on the mound by Johnson, who was making his first appearance as a pitcher since May 28 at the SEC Tournament. Marzilli greeted the left-hander with a double down the left-field line and Johnson answered by having Wingo fly out and Bradley, Jr., strike out.

 

In the Gamecocks’ seventh, Walker led off with a single up the middle and Morales sliced a one-out double into left field to prompt a pitching change. Junior Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) took over for Johnson (1.0 IP, 3 H) and struck out Williams before turning it over to junior Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.), who had Mooney ground out to hold the score at 4-1.

 

Zunino doubled with one out in the eighth and went to third on a grounder by Tucker, ending the night for Roth. Over 7.2 innings, the lefty scattered five hits, permitted two runs, totaled six strikeouts and issued two walks. Adams brought the Gators within 4-2 with a two-out RBI single into right field off senior John Taylor. Price was summoned from the bullpen and struck out junior pinch hitter Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) to preserve the two-run lead.

 

South Carolina answered with an RBI single by Wingo in the bottom of the inning to finalize the 5-2 margin. Beary punched a leadoff single up the middle and was sacrificed into scoring position by Marzilli. A wild pitch by Rodriguez advanced Beary to third and Wingo blooped a single over the drawn-in infield to help the Gamecocks re-claim a three-run cushion. A grounder by Bradley, Jr., put Wingo on second and the Gators elected to walk Walker intentionally. Junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) was brought into the game for Rodriguez (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and had pinch hitter Adam Matthews ground out. South Carolina held a 10-6 advantage in hits and did not commit any errors.

                                                                                                                                       

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