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Back-to-back titles for Gamecocks

Tue 28th, June 2011

Omaha, NE (Sports Network) - South Carolina went to its ace and Michael Roth came through by pitching into the eighth inning, and the Gamecocks celebrated their second straight College World Series title with a 5-2 win over Florida.

For the second straight night, Florida's porous defense opened the door for the Gamecocks, and they capitalized with a three-run third, on the way to a record 11th straight CWS victory and an NCAA-best ever 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament win dating to last season.

Peter Mooney belted a homer in the sixth inning and the Gamecocks finished off the two-game sweep by piling on top of each other near the mound just after pinch-hitter Ben McMahan flied out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

The Gamecocks closed out Rosenblatt Stadium last year winning the national title, the first baseball championship in school history. They defeated UCLA in consecutive games in the 2010 title series.

"These guys believed they could win, they played hard every day," South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner said. "We know we don't have awesome talent, but we show up and play and some good things have happened for us. I just can't put into words how much these guys mean to me and how hard they work."

South Carolina second baseman Scott Wingo, who had two RBI Tuesday, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the CWS.

Tuesday night's win came on the heels of Monday's incredible triumph when Christian Walker scored following a pair of throwing errors in the 11th inning of a 2-1 final at TD Ameritrade Park.

South Carolina became the first team to win back-to-back baseball titles since Oregon State in 2006-07.

"Beginning of the year I said we finished at the old one and let's try to open the new one up," Wingo said of winning the title in two different stadiums. "Coach didn't think we might -- might not get it, but I'm the type of guy that I had a feeling we were going to do it. And I kept thinking of the Oregon State team the whole year. I had a feeling we would get back and win this thing, and we did."

Pitching on three days of rest, Roth limited the Gators to five hits, two runs and fanned six batters over 7 2/3 innings. The junior left-hander walked a pair, but had help from his defense and was able to escape jams in the fifth and sixth innings.

In 38 1/3 innings of work over the past two years at the College World Series, Roth has posted a 1.17 ERA, second-best all-time.

Matt Price finished the game for the save.

The Gamecocks scored three times in the third off starter Karsten Whitson, and it was helped by another Florida gaffe, this one from shortstop Nolan Fontana. Mooney doubled down the left field line leading off and went to third on a sacrifice bunt from Robert Beary. Evan Marzilli walked before Wingo flied out to right field for a run. Jackie Bradley Jr. then walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Walker, who was playing again despite a broken left wrist.

Walker hit a bouncer toward Fontana, but the ball took a short hop and glanced off his wrist and into the outfield for a 2-0 margin. Brady Thomas then hit a slow bouncer up the middle. The ball was stopped by second baseman Josh Adams, but the throw to first was late, constructing the 3-0 lead.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we had the ability to do it," Walker said. "We worked hard enough. It was just getting to the grind and just doing it. And everything fell into line, and we couldn't ask for anything better."

Mike Zunino, who went 3-for-3, homered to left field leading off the fourth, and the Gators threatened in the fifth. Brian Johnson was hit by a pitch and Vickash Ramjit singled to right field. However, Cody Dent fanned and Bryson Smith grounded into a double play.

Then in the sixth, Fontana was hit by a pitch and Zunino singled through the left side, but the Gators couldn't come through in the clutch. Preston Tucker struck out, and Adams and Daniel Pigott grounded out.

Mooney homered down the right field line in the sixth, but the Gators got within two in the eighth on an Adams RBI single.

Wingo singled through the right side to plate Bradley in the bottom of the eighth.

Whitson allowed four hits, walked two and fanned four batters over 4 2/3 innings.

"They were a little bit better than us in all phases," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "They pitched a little bit better, hit a little bit better and played a little bit better defense."

The 16 straight NCAA Tournament wins for the Gamecocks breaks the all-time record of 15 shared with Texas in 1983 and 1984. The mark of 10 straight wins at the CWS was shared with both Southern California (1972-74) and LSU (1996-98). South Carolina's last NCAA Tournament defeat was a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma on June 20, 2010.

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