Gamecocks knock #1 UVa. to elimination game in CWS

Fourth-seeded South Carolina scored three times in the first inning and never trailed in a 7-1 College World Series win over the Virginia baseball team Tuesday evening in front of 22,027 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The top-seeded Cavaliers will play California at 7 p.m. Thursday (ET) on ESPN2 in an elimination game. The winner of that contest will advance to face South Carolina (52-14) on Friday evening.

Virginia (55-11) tied a season low with five hits, with Chris Taylor racking up a pair of knocks as he extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. He is 15-for-34 (.441) in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Will Roberts took the loss for Virginia and fell to 11-2 this season after allowing six runs (three earned), eight hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. UVa’s bullpen limited the Gamecocks to five hits and a run over the final 5.2 innings.

South Carolina reliever John Taylor (7-1) worked 4.1 shutout innings, allowing just a hit and a walk to earn the win. USC starter Colby Holmes worked 4.1 innings, giving up a run, four hits and a walk while fanning seven.

After a 68-minute rain delay to start the day, South Carolina took advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy UVa defense to score three times in the first inning. Roberts worked quickly in the inning by retiring the first two hitters on five total pitches, including striking out leadoff hitter Evan Marzilli on three straight strikes. Roberts looked to be out of the inning on eight total pitches when Christian Walker hit a 1-1 offering toward third base, but Steven Proscia bobbled the ball for an error.

With Walker on first base Jackie Bradley Jr. deposited Roberts’ first offering into the right centerfield gap for a run-scoring double. Adrian Morales hit a high chopper that bounced over Jared King’s head at first base, scoring Bradley Jr. South Carolina capped the scoring spurt when Brady Thomas doubled off the centerfield wall, plating Morales.

South Carolina added another run in the top of the third inning with two outs. Morales started the rally with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a Thomas single to centerfield. Morales came around and scored on a Peter Mooney single to right field, giving the Gamecocks the 4-0 advantage.

The Gamecocks plated two more in the top of the fourth inning, storming out to a 6-0 advantage. Jake Williams led the inning off with a triple into the right-centerfield gap. He scored when Marzilli doubled to left-centerfield on the following pitch. Scott Wingo advanced Marzilli to third on a sacrifice bunt, which spelled the end of the night for Roberts. UVa head coach Brian O’Connor went to the bullpen and brought Cody Winiarski into the game, giving Roberts his shortest start of the season at 3.1 innings. Winiarski’s first offering of the game to Walker was tagged down the left field line for a RBI double, capping the run for South Carolina.

Virginia broke through in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by John Hicks, his eighth of the season and the first hit of the game for the Cavaliers. UVa threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning, loading the bases with one out on a David Coleman hit, followed by a Keith Werman walk and a single by Taylor. South Carolina went to the bullpen and brought in Taylor, who induced John Barr to hit into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play, silencing the UVa threat.

South Carolina added another run in the top of the eighth inning off UVa reliever Justin Thompson. Robert Beary walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third after back-to-back groundouts. Wingo was hit by a pitch and Walker then singled through the right side, scoring Beary and giving the Gamecocks the 7-1 lead.

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