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Looking Back at the 1977 Gamecock Baseball Team

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*Written by Assistant Media Relations Director Andrew Kitick. See more, including the 1977 roster, statistics, and individual notes for each game of the season, in this weekend's game notes.

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1977 Team Photo

Two years after their first trip to the College World Series, the Gamecocks found themselves back in Omaha under a different head coach.

Bobby Richardson, who in seven seasons built the South Carolina program into a national power, resigned and June Raines was brought in to continue the success forged by Richardson. That included South Carolina's first three bids to the NCAA Tournament and first trip to Omaha.

For Raines, it was a return to the Gamecock Roost. Fol¬lowing a 10-year career as a catcher in the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators minor league systems, Raines had served as a student assistant coach under Jack Powers and Richardson while earning bachelor and masters degrees.

Raines inherited a good nucleus from Richardson whose final team, 1976, had compiled a 38-14 record. Richardson's previous two teams were 48-8 in 1974 and 51-6-1 in 1975.

Raines added some outstanding talent in outfielder Mookie Wilson, catcher Johnny Long and right-handed pitcher Randy Martz from the Gamecock football squad to the returnees left by Richardson.
Through his first 20 games, Raines won 68 percent of the time, excellent under most criteria but somewhat short of Richardson's .828 percentage over his final three seasons. After winning 10 of his first 11 games, Raines saw his team lose five and tie one over the next nine. Arch rival Clemson, on the other hand, was unbeaten after 26 games with the best record in the nation.

South Carolina broke the Tigers' win streak with a 2-1 victory at Clemson behind Martz and the Gamecocks compiled a 30-6 record the remainder of the season for a final mark of 43-12-1. The late season surge included two more wins over Clemson for a sweep of the season series.

South Carolina was awarded its fourth consecutive regional site but quickly fell into the losers' bracket with a 7-6 loss to nationally second ranked South Alabama. Starter Ran¬dy Martz left the game with the lead but the bullpen couldn't hold it. Carolina would have to win four consecutive games over the next three days if it was to win the regional.

The uphill trek began with a 4-1 win over East Carolina behind a six-hit complete game by right-hander Jim Lewis. The task ahead required two Sunday victories to force a show¬down game on Monday.
Ed Lynch, from the Gamecock basketball team, drew the first assignment and stifled South Alabama. He scattered seven hits in an 11-2 rout. Sophomore right-hander Hal Hutchens caused some anxious moments when he allowed 12 hits and walked four but was tough with runners on base. With ninth inning relief help from Lewis, Hutchens came out with a 5-2 win over Wake Forest. With two days rest, Randy Martz got the call vs. the Demon Deacons. Although he allowed 10 hits, he struck out 12. Johnny Hinkel, Mark Van Bever and Mookie Wilson homered as the Gamecocks won 6-1 to clinch a spot in Omaha.
The opening game of the 1977 College World Series was a classic. With undefeated Randy Martz pitching for South Carolina, and Panamanian right-hander Jaime Cocanower for Baylor, the score was tied 1-1 after nine innings with both starters still on the mound.

Martz retired the first two Baylor batters in the top of the 10th but three successive ground ball singles produced a run and the Bears took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the 10th inning.
Van Bever lashed a double down the left field line and advanced to third when Wilson grounded out to deep short¬stop. That brought up left fielder Chuck McLean who hit a line drive on the first pitch that carried over Baylor center fielder Burl Coker's head.

Raines said later that he would have held McLean at third if he had been the third base coach. However, after nine innings, he had turned third base coaching duties over to assistant Johnny Hunton "to change over the luck" and Hunton waved McLean past third base. He slid home safely with an inside the park home run and a 3-2 Gamecock victory.

Lewis scattered eight hits and struck out 14 defeating Cal State-Los Angeles 6-2 and Martz came back on short rest to down Southern Illinois Carbondale 5-4 earning Carolina a bye to the championship round as the only undefeated team.

A shoulder injury to power hitting first baseman Johnny Hinkel (15 home runs) left the Gamecocks a little short. Lynch pitched well in a complete game effort but lost 6-2 to Arizona State setting up another meeting with the Sun Devils. Lewis also pitched well but was on the short end of a 2-1 score and for the second time in two tries, South Carolina finished second in the College World Series.

Martz, with a 14-0 record, was named National Player of the Year, first team All-America and first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs. He pitched four years in the major leagues. Wilson was second team All-America and played 1,403 ma¬jor league games in 12 seasons with the Mets and Blue Jays. Lynch played eight years with the Mets and Cubs and became general manager of the Cubs. Lews made it to the big leagues for brief stints with the Mariners, Yankees and Twins.

**The 1977 team will be recognized and receive rings for their College World Series appearance prior to this Saturday's game vs. Albany at Carolina Stadium. Game time is now set for 4:00 PM.

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