The South Carolina Gamecocks, college baseball’s defending national champions, won their record 14th consecutive postseason game Friday night, a 3-2 13-inning nail-biter over the Virginia Cavaliers. With the win South Carolina secures its spot in the College World Series best-of-three championship series, where the Gamecocks will meet fellow SEC program Florida. The Gators outlasted Vanderbilt Friday afternoon, eliminating the Commodores and securing Florida’s first trip to the finals since 2005.
The nightcap between USC and UVA featured some of the best pitchers in the nation, and the evening didn’t disappoint. Fighting illness, Virginia’s Danny Hultzen showed why he was the second overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft this month. Hultzen struck out 8 in 3 innings before leaving the game sick. Michael Roth, the nation’s leader in ERA, went 7 innings for South Carolina, leaving with a 2-1 lead.
But the Cavaliers tied the game in the 8th inning thanks to two Carolina errors. It was a sign of things to come, as the Gamecocks would win thanks to two Virginia errors in the 13th inning. Between the 8th and 13th frames, the game belonged to star relievers Branden Kline and Matt Price. UVA’s Kline went 5 innings and struck out 7, surrendering just 3 hits and walking 4. Price got the win for South Carolina, pitching the final 5.2 innings and striking out 5.
Price managed to retire Virginia without a run in the 10th, 12th, and 13th innings despite the Cavaliers loading the bases in each of those frames. Both teams combined to leave 29 runners on base, with Virginia’s season ending thanks in part to going just 2 for 21 with runners on base.