Cooper, Gamecocks Top UCLA, 7-1 in Game One
June 28, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. - Senior right-hander Blake Cooper worked into the ninth inning and allowed just one run on three hits while striking out 10 batters and the Gamecocks offense jumped out to a five-run lead in the first three innings as South Carolina defeated UCLA 7-1 in game one of the CWS championship series. Cooper improves to 13-2 on the year and earned his 34th career victory, tying him for fourth all-time in school history. Carolina is now 53-16 while the loss drops UCLA to 51-16 for the year. Game two of the series is set for 7:30 p.m. ET with the game televised live on ESPNHD and also available on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com.
On three days rest, Cooper had a strong game as he worked in and out and kept the UCLA batters in check for most the evening. He had allowed just one hit in eight innings of work before allowing a pair in the top of the ninth and then handed the ball off to junior reliever John Taylor, who got the final three outs of the game to preserve the win. Cooper is now 13-2 for the season. UCLA starter Gerrit Cole allowed six runs, four earned, on 11 hits in seven innings of work. It is the most hits he has allowed in a game this year. He struck out just two batters and walked one. Cole is now 11-4 for the season.
"We got off to a great start tonight offensively," said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. "We pushed across some runs early and they made a couple of mistakes. We had a couple of hits stuck in there. We really didn't hit Cole that hard early but we were able to get a couple balls to drop and scored some runs. This guy sitting to my left (Blake Cooper) just gave us an outstanding performance. Just made pitch after pitch after pitch and we hung in there and kept scoring a few more runs. I thought our guys did a tremendous job against Cole. What a tremendous arm he has, a great pitcher. We had a tremendous game tonight against one of the best pitchers in the country."
All nine position starters for Carolina tallied at least one hit. Evan Marzilli, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Walker and Bobby Haney had two hits apiece to lead the 14-hit attack. Bradley's hitting streak is now at 22 games. Haney drove in three runs, his second highest total of the year for RBIs in a game.
The Gamecocks broke ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. bunted for a base hit with two outs followed by a single to left center by Christian Walker. Bradley scored Carolina's first run as Brady Thomas hit a check swing base hit down the left field line. The Gamecocks were then able to take advantage of a UCLA miscue as a ground ball off the bat of Adrian Morales went through the legs of second baseman Cody Regis allowing Walker to score. Carolina increased the lead to 3-0 in the top of the second as Scott Wingo tripled down the left field line with one out and scored on Evan Marzilli's RBI base hit to right field. It would then be extended to 5-0 in the top of the third as Haney delivered with a two-out RBI single that scored both Morales and Thomas.
Carolina added single runs in the fifth and eighth innings. Haney drove in his third run with a sacrifice fly RBI to score Morales and Merrifield collected a two-out RBI single in the eighth that plated home Wingo. UCLA completed the scoring in the ninth inning with a run as they loaded the bases with no outs and scored on a double play ball off the bat of Trevor Brown.