June 21, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. -- The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes, 4-1, in elimination game on Thursday afternoon at the College World Series. With the win the Gamecocks (47-18) advance to play Arkansas in a 9 p.m. ET contest Thursday night.
The Gamecocks rode the stellar pitching of senior lefthander Michael Roth. Roth, who tied the NCAA records for career starts at the College World Series with seven and wins with four, and established a record with the most innings pitched in College World Series history, improved his record to 9-1 on the season. He went the distance, allowing two hits and one run with no walks and eight strikeouts while throwing 106 pitches. He retired the final 22 batters he faced in order.
"I just try to go out there and give the team a chance to win," said Roth. "I guess I've been saving all my complete games for the postseason. But it's nice, and I'm glad we have the opportunity to just keep playing. It (was) the best command that I've had in a long time."
The Golden Flashes (47-20) broke out on top with a run in the top of the second inning. George Roberts led off with a single to right, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Sawyer Polen's single to left. Those would be the only two baserunners of the game for Kent State.
The Gamecocks came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Adam Matthews and Kyle Martin stroked back-to-back singles. After Tanner English struck out, Grayson Greiner singled off the glove of Polen behind the third base bag. When the ball rolled away into foul territory, Matthews was able to beat the throw to the plate to tie the score at one. Chase Vergason followed with a single to right, plating Martin with the Gamecocks' second run.
Carolina increased its lead in the bottom of the third inning. After Christian Walker belted a two-out double into the right-centerfield alley, LB Dantzler crushed a two-run homer over the right field bullpen, his 10th round tripper of the season, giving the Gamecocks a 4-1 advantage.
The Gamecocks finished the game with seven hits and left seven runners on base.
Kent State starter Tyler Skulina (11-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on six hits with four walks and nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work.
"I thought it was going to be a pitching duel to the very end," said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. "We were fortunate in the second and third inning, we got a two-out run, and a two-out base hit, and Dantzler homers after the double in the third. (Michael) Roth was very special today. He has been many, many times. Last night I told him we need you to stay out there for a long time. He picked a great time to give us a complete game and gave us a chance to rest in the bullpen. A tremendous outing by Roth and we get a chance to play again."
The Gamecocks will look to avenge Monday night's 2-1 loss to Arkansas when the two teams get together later tonight. Arkansas will be the home team. The Gamecocks would need to defeat the Razorbacks tonight and again on Friday night to advance to the championship round of the College World Series.
"(Arkansas is) on a roll," added Tanner. "They've got momentum they're in the winner's bracket. Fant is a guy that's had some good ones in his career, and he's going to come right at us. He's rested and ready to go. We're playing one of the favorites now, certainly, with them being undefeated on our side. So there is a lot of work to do. They played really well the other night, and we've just got to go back and rest fast and get ready to go again."
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