Image credit: (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by former South Carolina starting pitching Michael Roth to discuss the Gamecocks’ 3-2 extra-innings win over Virginia in the 2011 College World Series.
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This game, in which Roth started and threw seven quality innings, came right in the middle of a historic run of success for the South Carolina program in the postseason. Coming off of winning a national title in 2010, the Gamecocks were well on their way to winning a second championship in 2011 and this win over the Cavaliers, which propelled them into the CWS final against Florida, was the team’s 14th straight victory in postseason play.
With two straight wins against the Gators in the championship series and then six straight wins to begin the 2012 postseason, the streak eventually reached 22 games on the way to South Carolina getting to a third straight CWS final.
When you consider the uncanny combination of talent and good fortune that it takes to pull off a streak like that, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever see any team come anywhere close to matching it.
So many of the key pieces of this particular South Carolina team are considered legends in program history, Roth himself chief among them. His performances in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Omaha trips are remembered fondly by the faithful. Matt Price, the team’s famously fiery closer, who thrived when he found himself in jams, was known for his epic relief outings, including a 95-pitch performance in this very game. And second baseman Scott Wingo, never the guy with the most eye-popping stats on the lineup sheet, just had a knack for coming up big in important moments, like in the 13th inning of this game, when he begins a double play that helped Price escape trouble.
Certainly, few teams have ever been so successful on the big stage.
Among the topics discussed with Roth on this episode are:
- What it was like to play for a team that clearly attacked postseason baseball with confidence
- Taking on a talented Connecticut team in the super regionals
- How it was different going back to Omaha as defending champs in 2011
- How important it was for him to limit the damage to one run in the second inning
- How he was feeling physically after a long season
- How the larger TD Ameritrade Park and the BBCOR bats served to hold down offense
- The importance of Scott Wingo’s play in the top of the 13th
- How putting pressure on the Virginia defense led to the winning run in the bottom of the 13th
- How unique Matt Price was as a closer
- What is says about this South Carolina team that they were able to go through No. 1 Virginia and a stacked Florida team to win a national title
- Where this championship ranks as a career achievement
- His playing for Great Britain in international competition