College : : Story
Friday, March 23, 2012

Back to reality

Kendall Rogers        
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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Even if it was just one night and one game, everything just seemed right again for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The last time the Gamecocks faced off with Florida, it was the national title series at the College World Series last season. In that series, the Gamecocks used several clutch hits, some great defense and outstanding pitching to get past the Gators and win their second national title.

In many ways, Thursday night's contest with the Gators took everyone back down memory lane and to Omaha, as the Gamecocks played one of their best games of the year in a 9-3 triumph over the Gators, who were riding an 18-game winning streak entering the contest.

The Gamecocks got a huge two-run home run in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead, as outfielder Adam Matthews, who was hitting .211 entering the game, smashed a 90-mph fastball from Florida right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall over the wall in left-center. There were some shaky moments in the field, but when it mattered most, the Gamecocks made the key defensive plays.

Then there was the clutch pitching. South Carolina ace pitcher Michael Roth, to no surprise, put together another strong start, striking out five Gators and allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Roth was consistently 86-87 with his fastball, 79-80 with the changeup and 75-77 with the curveball.

Then it was hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Matt Price.



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