Beginning It Like They Ended It

June 28, 2011

It has been a wild two years for the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team.

Many of the 2010 Gamecocks’ NCAA tournament games were a prime example of a team “coming back from the dead”. In their regional round, they had to come from behind to beat fourth-seeded Bucknell and The Citadel, the three-seed. In the second game of their Super Regional matchup with host Coastal Carolina, the Gamecocks had to score three runs in the ninth inning to secure their trip to Omaha. In the College World Series, come from behind victories against Oklahoma (which was needed to avoid elimination) and UCLA in the second game of the Championship Series further affirmed South Carolina’s status as “comeback kids”.

This year’s story has been different, but no less exciting. Ever since last year’s College World Series, in which the Gamecocks won six straight games after losing their CWS opener against Oklahoma in route to their first NCAA championship in school history, they have been on fire in NCAA tournament play. Fifteen straight NCAA tournament wins speak for themselves. To some, at least.

Many of South Carolina’s 2011 College World Series games have been characterized by plays in which the Gamecocks were helped tremendously by the other team’s mishaps. Against Virginia on June 24th, the Gamecocks scored the winning run in the 13th inning, thanks in part to two bad throws that allowed pinch runner Adam Matthews to basically walk in. Last night in Game 1 of the Championship Series against Florida, Gamecocks first baseman Christian Walker scored the winning run in the 11th inning after two wild throws by the Gators allowed him to get from first base all the home. These two plays in particular have some critics saying that the Gamecocks’ success in this year’s College World Series is simply a result of good luck.

Someone once said that luck has a peculiar habit of favoring those who don’t depend on it. Virginia was fourth in the nation in fielding percentage (.980) coming into the College World Series, but committed seven errors in the four games that they played. In last night’s game, Florida had the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the 9th inning with the game knotted at 1-1, but was unable to push across any runs.

The Gamecocks’ great postseason run cannot be attributed solely to luck. This is a team, led by senior Scott Wingo, juniors Jackie Bradley Jr. and Michael Roth, and sophomores Matt Price and Christian Walker that have been in this position before. They have been on the brink of elimination on this stage before. They have had the bases loaded in a tight game before. They have passed those challenges before, and have the experience necessary to pull off those feats yet again. That is why, as the other teams around them have crumbled under the pressure, South Carolina has continued to play their game and rise above. They may not be a better team, but they are better prepared.

Tonight, South Carolina will look to win the second game of the Championship Series against Florida and secure their second straight NCAA baseball championship, the first team since Oregon State in 2006 and 2007 to win back-to-back titles. Also notable is that they would be the last team to win in the legendary Rosenblatt Stadium and the first team to win in the new TD Ameritrade Park.

If they can pull off the victory, they will cap off a season that was just as wild as the previous one. Come from behind wins and error-aided go-ahead runs aside, luck will have had far less to do with it than it would seem. 

– K. Becks

3 Responses to Beginning It Like They Ended It

  1. crimit on June 30, 2011 at 8:20 am


  2. J Swag on July 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

    You right! Thts all i can say cuzz you should go into journalism! Hope to see more

    • K. Becks on July 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks man. Glad you liked what you read.

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