What a blast: Walker's homer sends USC to College World Series - Neil White, The State
The freshman first baseman admitted a home run was in the back of his mind as he got ready to hit late Sunday afternoon. The same went for everyone in the park wearing garnet, including USC coach Ray Tanner as he gave Walker a piece of advice.
"Everyone was thinking that. He said, 'If you see one, crush it,'" Walker said.
That he did.
"That was definitely one of the better jogs I've taken in my life," Walker said. "I was just making sure I touched all the bases."
On the field, minutes after the celebration had died down, Walker found his cellphone and called his parents, Scott Walker and Julie Signorovitch, back home in Pennsylvania. His call was greeted by screams of jubilation.
His father told Walker he could not bear to watch on TV as his son's shining moment approached. Dad bowed his head in prayer. Within minutes, that prayer was answered for Walker and for USC fans everywhere.
It's been six years since South Carolina played in the College World Series. To some, its coach asserted, it's felt like a quarter-century.
No matter your point of perception, the wait is over. The Gamecocks are again part of the final eight in Omaha.
USC played from behind all day against Coastal Carolina until Christian Walker's three-run home run with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning delivered a dramatic 10-9 super regional-clinching victory at sold-out, rowdy BB&T Coastal Field.
It was a flashback to USC's glory days last decade, when the Gamecocks made regular trips to Omaha on the strength of multi-run homers. These Gamecocks were built much differently, but they produced a bomb when they needed it most.
"Coach [Ray] Tanner told me when I was in the on-deck circle that I needed to get on base so that Walker could hit his three-run home run," Morales said.