South Carolina rolls past Oklahoma
Gamecocks win 20th consecutive NCAA tournament game
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina ace Michael Roth closed his home career in style, and the two-time defending national champion Gamecocks won their 20th consecutive NCAA tournament game with a 5-0 victory against Oklahoma in the super regional series Saturday night.
South Carolina (44-17) needs to defeat the Sooners (42-24) once more to reach its third consecutive College World Series.
LB Dantzler's RBI double keyed a three-run second inning that was all Roth (7-1) needed. He worked 7 2-3 innings, giving up six hits. Roth ran off the mound in the eighth to a loud, standing ovation.
After shaking hands with coach Ray Tanner, Roth came out of the dugout to acknowledge the cheers with a wave of his cap.
South Carolina had a three-run second inning off Oklahoma starter Jordan John (8-8). Dantzler tallied an RBI double to drive in the first run. Erik Payne scored when John bounced a pitch in the dirt that catcher Tanner Toal couldn't handle and Chase Vergason had a sacrifice fly to center moments later to bring in Dantzler, who moved to third on the wild pitch.
The Gamecocks set the NCAA baseball tournament record for consecutive wins in last year's title run. They've kept adding to it this season, going 3-0 in the Columbia Regional with a couple of satisfying wins against rival Clemson.
Oklahoma had been the last team to beat the Gamecocks in NCAA play with a 4-3 win to start the 2010 College World Series. Sooners coach Sunny Golloway stirred up some South Carolina fans when he reminded people of his team's success over the champs in the CWS two years ago.
Golloway had to call on Dillon Overton, whom he hoped to save for a possible Game 3 showdown Monday, to start the third because of John's struggles.
Overton kept the Sooners in it, allowing just two hits in four innings and recording 10 consecutive outs during one stretch. Oklahoma's offense, however simply could not master Roth's pitches. And when the Sooners did mount a rally, it did not last.
Caleb Bushyhead singled in the first and was thrown out easily trying to steal second. Oklahoma had two on with one out in the second, but Garrett Carey flied out to center and Erik Ross grounded out to first.
Tanner Toal led off the third with a single before Max White fouled out attempting to bunt and Roth got Bushyhead to tap a ball back to the mound that the senior lefty turned into an easy double play.
The Gamecocks have also won 23 consecutive home NCAA tournament games, a streak that began exactly 10 years ago Saturday with a 6-4 win against Miami in the super regional that send South Carolina to its first College World Series under Tanner.