Monday, June 27, 2011

The Road to Omaha

Lost in the shuffle of a lot of the other stuff going on in sports right now is the College World Series. SEC teams South Carolina and Florida are battling it out in a best of three series to decide the whole thing. Game 1 was tonight and if you missed it you missed out. Gone are the days where 9 hitters were hitting opposite field homeruns in 16-14 slugfests. This year's tournament has been all about pitching. Tonight was no different as Florida's Hudson Randall and South Carolina's Forrest Koumas were locked in a pitcher's duel. Florida struck first with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and it stayed 1-0 until their were two outs in the 8th when South Carolina second baseman Scott Wingo hit a seeing-eye ground ball just under Randall's glove and through the infield to score the tying run from third. It certainly seemed like Florida's game to win though as they loaded the bases in the 9th with nobody out and Tyler Thompson at the plate. Thompson hit John Taylor's offering to the right of Wingo who made a great diving stop on the short hop and fired home where catcher Robert Beary made a great scoop to get the out at the plate. Taylor then got Daniel Pigott to hit another grounder to Wingo who fired home to Beary starting a 4-2-3 double play to end the inning. The Gators had another golden opportunity to win the game in the 10th as well when with runners on first and second with two out when slumping catcher Mike Zunino singled through the left side, but Jake Williams came up throwing and Beary again came up with a nice play to tag out Cody Dent to send the game into the 11th. That would set the stage for South Carolina first baseman Christian Walker, playing with a broken wrist, to become the hero. Walker led off the 11th with a single and then with Brady Thomas at the plate, took off for second. It looked like it caught Zunino a little off guard as he fired a rushed throw into centerfield sending Walker to third. Bryson Smith fielded the errant throw and fired to third, but his throw shorthopped Dent and bounced into the stands giving South Carolina their first lead of the game. Matt Price would then come in for his 19th save to shut the door on their SEC rivals and moving them one win away from their second straight National Championship. Game 2 is tomorrow night at 8 Eastern.

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