College World Series 2011: South Carolina Downs Florida For Second Straight Title, 5-2

South Carolina claimed its first-ever dynasty in any sport, defeating the Florida Gators 5-2 to win back-to-back National Championships.

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South Carolina Downs Florida For Second Straight Title, 5-2

As Matt Price walked to the mound in the top of the ninth inning, the scene felt eerily familiar. Give them no chances, make no mistakes. Ten pitches later the season was over and a raucous celebration overtook TD Ameritrade Park.

The South Carolina Gamecocks were NCAA National Champions. Again.

Led by a brilliant effort from staff ace Michael Roth, South Carolina thoroughly defeated Florida, 5-2, to sweep the College World Series Finals and claim the first back-to-back title defense since Oregon State's 2006-2007 run.

Roth was incredible all night long, stifling the Gator's bats with seven and two-thirds innings of five-hit ball on just three-day's rest. It was the perfect capper to an unbelievable season in which the South Carolina hurler racked up 13 wins with a 1.06 ERA over 145 innings.  

Afterwards, senior second basemen Scott Wingo was named the 2011 CWS Most Outstanding Player. The Gamecock's leadoff man batted .333, drove in four runs, and claimed one mighty fine looking belt throughout the two-game series.

Caught in a pitcher's duel early in the game, South Carolina finally broke through in the bottom of the third, scoring three consecutive runs -- two unearned -- off Gator freshman Karsten Whitson. Gamecock shortstop Peter Mooney started things off by cracking a double down the left field line, and eventually made his way home off Wingo's sacrifice fly to break the scoreless tie. 

Soon after, in a series of events uncannily reminiscent of Monday night's defensive breakdown that cost the Gators Game 1, Florida sophomore Nolan Fontana mishandled a dribbler up the middle. The play should have resulted in the end of the inning, but instead gave Gamecock outfielder Evan Marzilli a free pass to home plate.

The mistake only magnified itself when Brady Thomas smashed a single down the second base line that brought in yet another South Carolina runner. By the time the dust had settled, the Gamecocks had taken a commanding 3-0 lead with just two hits.

The three-run lead is all the defending champions would need, as Roth continued to work his way out of jams unharmed, despite Florida piling runners on base in each the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning. 

South Carolina Closer Matt Price came in midway through the eighth inning and slammed the door on Florida.

Freshman phenom Whitson submitted a brave effort, but looked overmatch for much of the night. Overall, the young Gator pitched a shaky four and two-thirds innings, giving up one earned run, four hits, two walks, and nailing three Gamecock batters.

From the get-go it was clear that Gator catcher Mike Zunino, one of Monday's scapegoats after his 11th inning throwing error, was looking to rebound from Game 1's disappointment. The sophomore gave it a valiant shot, going 3-3 from the plate with two runs, a walk, and a homerun in the fourth inning that cut it to a two-run game.

But the Gators never could close the gap, as Peter Mooney ensured when he crushed a Tommy Toledo pitch into the right-field stands in the sixth inning to extend the Gamecock lead. The blast was amazingly the first homerun for South Carolina in five games at the College World Series, and secured a second title for the defending champions.

In the aftermath, it is interesting to note that the SEC -- a conference best known for its football prowess -- has now posted three consecutive College World Series champions. Maybe its time to rethink things. To extrapolate, the SEC has now won its ninth College World Series title since 1990. That margin is good enough for 41% of the 22 available championships, an astounding number in retrospect.

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College World Series, Game 2 Score: Price Slams Door, Gamecocks Defeat Gators 5-2 To Win Back-To-Back National Titles

On the verge of a National Championship, Matt Price walked to the mound to seal the deal for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Up 5-2 over the Florida Gators in the top of the ninth, all the hard-throwing closer needed was three more outs and the title would be theirs.

Ten pitches later the game was over. Price quickly forced Brian Johnson to fly out to center field, Jeff Moyer to ground out to first, and Ben McMahan to fly out to centerfield. Suddenly the celebration was on.

It's official, South Carolina are the winners of the College World Series National Championship, sweeping Florida 2-0 in the final series. The title is the second in a row for the Gamecocks. Second basemen Scott Wingo has been named the 2011 CWS Most Outstanding Player.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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Florida Vs. South Carolina Score, Game 2: South Carolina Heads Into Ninth Inning With 5-2 Lead

With well over 100 pitches under his belt, Michael Roth again returned to the mound to face the heart of the Gators' lineup to start the eighth inning. Florida leadoff man Nolan Fontana failed to do damage, grounding out to second base to record the first out.

Then, as he has throughout the game, catcher Mike Zunino started off the Gator attack, cracking a double to right field. Thus far the sophomore is 3-3 on the night, with a homerun and a walk. Regardless of what happens, this is a fantastic redemption game for Zunino. 

Roth continued to press on, inducing Preston Tucker to groundout to second base for the second out of the inning. However, the contact allowed Zunino to advance to third successfully, and Gamecocks manager Ray Tanner finally decided it was time to give his ace a break. 

In came John Taylor, the hard-throwing right-hander with a stifling 1.14 ERA. But Josh Adams -- clearly relieved to have chased off Roth -- lined up and instantly blasted a single to right field, bringing Zunino home easily. 

With the score 4-2, and the tying run at the plate, Tanner decided it was time to bring in his big gun. On less than a day's rest, closer Matt Price replaced Taylor for the Gamecocks and made short work of Tyler Thompson, striking out the junior on just five pitches to end the top of the inning.

However, the Gamecocks would not rest on their laurels. Still trying be the aggressors, Robert Beary singled up the middle off Florida's Steven Rodriguez to start off the bottom of the eighth inning. As has become second nature for South Carolina, Beary was quickly moved over to second via a sacrifice bunt. He then advanced the third on a wild pitch.

Up came Scott Wingo, who nailed a single through the right side and brought Beary home. And just like that, the Gators momentum was gone due to another perfectly manufactured Gamecock run. 

The Gators eventually worked out of the jam, as Greg Larson induced an Adam Matthews groundout, but once again the damage was already done. The score sits, 5-2, the Gamecocks on the verge of a second consecutive championship, as we head into the ninth inning. 

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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College World Series, Game 2 Score: Michael Roth Rolling, Gamecocks Lead 4-1 After Seven

Michael Roth looked determined as ever as he took the mound to start the top of the seventh inning. Although things didn't really start out the Gamecock ace would have liked, as he promptly walked Brian Johnson on four straight pitches. But, as he has the entire game, Roth took a moment, regained his composure, and went on to record three straight outs with just nine pitches. He struck he Vickash Ramjit swinging, induced Cody Dent into a foul out to left field, and forced Bryson Smith to hit into a fielder's choice to roll through the bottom of the Gator's lineup.  

The Gators brought back out Brian Johnson to start the bottom of the seventh against Gamecock hero Christian Walker, who immediately blasted a single up the middle. However, a shaken Johnson seemed to recover quickly, as he struck out Gamecock senior Brady Thomas on three straight pitches. Though, unfortunately for the Gators, it was a false hope, as Adrian Morales proceeded to smash a double down the left field line to put South Carolina runners on the corners. 

Facing another dire situation, Florida skipper Kevin O'Sullivan elected to remove Johnson in favor of right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. The move paid instant dividends as the hard-throwing junior struck out Jake Williams on just four pitches.

With two outs and red-hot shortstop Peter Mooney coming to the plate, O'Sullivan tinkered once more, this time choosing to put in sophomore lefty Steven Rodriguez. Again, the move paid dividends as Mooney grounded out to second base with the help of a stellar defensive effort by Josh Adams.

Good effort by the Gators but they are running out of time. 4-1 Gamecocks after seven.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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Florida Vs. South Carolina Score, Game 2: Mooney Home Run Extends Gamecock Lead, 4-1, After Six Innings

South Carolina's Michael Roth started the sixth inning by working Florida sophomore Nolan Fontana to a full count, before issuing yet another hit-by-pitch, with what is becoming the theme of the game. Catcher Mike Zunino punished the Gamecock's mistake by immediately smacking a single to the left side.

With runners on first and second, the winning run, Preston Tucker sauntered up to the plate. However, in a bizarre at-bat in which Roth threw almost no strikes, the Gator struck out swinging. Florida seems to be getting ahead of themselves, and is going for the gusto instead of grinding through the game. The bases could easily be loaded right now had Tucker shown some patience.

Josh Adams followed the trend, swinging at a 1-1 breaking ball to ground out to third base. Nonetheless, Zunino and Fontana advanced to second and third respectively. But once again Florida stranded the tying runs, as Daniel Pigott ground out to first to end the top of the sixth. A wasted opportunity for the Gators. Roth continues to work his way out of tough situations. 

Tommy Toledo remained on the mound for Florida as the bottom of the sixth inning began. Though Florida instantly regretted the decision, as Peter Mooney smashed the fifth pitch he saw into the right field stands to extend the Gamecock's lead, 4-1. Mooney's blast was amazingly the first homerun for South Carolina in five games at the College World Series.

Toledo stayed in for one more pitch, forcing Robert Beary to pop out to second, before being removed for hard-throwing lefty Brian Johnson. Johnson promptly allowed a rocketing Evan Marzilli double down the left field line, but soon settled in, forcing Scott Wingo to fly out to center field and Jackie Bradley Jr. to strike out swinging on three straight pitches.

The Gator's minimized the damage, but still leave the inning down 4-1 after a Peter Mooney solo homerun. 

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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College World Series, Game 2 Score: Karsten Whiston Pulled, South Carolina Leads 3-1 After Five

The dominance of South Carolina ace Michael Roth hit a speed bump to start the fifth inning. After pulling ahead of Gator designated hitter Brian Johnson 0-2, Roth threw three consecutive balls before hitting the sophomore to give him a pass to first. Sensing a rare opportunity to get to the brillant Gamecock hurler, first basemen Vickash Ramjit immediately came to the plate and smashed a single to right field.

That would be as far as the Gators got though, as Roth quickly regained his composure, struck out Cody Dent swinging, and induced Bryson Smith into a double play to end the top of the inning. Thus far Roth has pitched a stellar five innings of three-hit ball.

With his offense failing to come alive, Karsten Whiston returned in the bottom of the fifth determined to not dig the Gators into a deeper hole. He quickly induced senior second baseman Scott Wingo into a groundout to first, and then struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. looking. 

But then Christian Walker, the eternal thorn in Florida's side, came up and hit a dribbler to the left side for a two-out single. The rally continued as Brady Thomas matched his teammate with a single to left that led to another managerial visit out to the mound for Kevin O'Sullivan. 

The right-handed freshman convinced O'Sullivan to keep him in the game, only to promptly reward his skipper by hitting yet another batter. With two outs and the bases loaded, O'Sullivan made the call to the bullpen, bringing out junior reliever Tommy Toledo to try to finish the job. The decision proved to be a wise one, as Toledo struck out Jake Williams with a blistering fastball to end the fifth inning.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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Florida Vs. South Carolina Score, Game 2: Zunino Homer Cuts Florida Deficit, 3-1, After Four Innings

After a long rest South Carolina's Michael Roth headed back to the mound. The rustiness immediately became a factor, as Roth gave up a homerun to Mike Zunino on his fourth pitch of the inning. The blast to left field will surely serve as a big moral boost to the struggling Gators after a rough third inning. 

Undeterred by his mistake, Roth went right back to work, retiring Preston Tucker, Josh Adams, and Daniel Pigott via groundouts in just seven combined pitches to end the top of the fourth.

Now it was up to Whitson to recover from his shaky outing. The inning did not start off pleasantly for the freshman, as he immediately nailed Jake Williams to give the Gamecock a free pass to first. Then, as South Carolina has done the entire series, they executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Williams into scoring position.

With a runner on second and one out, Whitson was again facing a touchy situation. The youngster fared better this time, however, and after an arduous seven-foul at-bat he forced Gamecock catcher Robert Beary to fly out to right field. The long battle was enough to settle down Whitson, and he quickly induced Evan Marzilli into a groundout to second. 

A Mike Zunino homer narrowed the gap, but at the end of the fourth inning the score is 3-1, South Carolina.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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College World Series, Game 2 Score: Gamecocks Break Open Game With Florida Error, Lead 3-0 After Three Innings

After some early trouble, Gamecock ace Michael Roth has been rolling. The top of the third went by quickly, as he made quick work of the side. Cody Dent grounded out to second, Bryson Smith struck out swinging, and Nolan Fontana grounded out up the middle. Roth has retired eight Gators in a row.

Gamecock shortstop Peter Mooney smacked a double down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the third for South Carolina. Robert Beary promptly came up to the plate and laid down a bunt to move Mooney to third. It looked as if Florida's Karsten Whitson had the play at third, but he instead chose to go the sure route and throw out Beary at first.

With a runner on third and one out, sophomore Evan Marzilli stepped up to bat and earned a five pitch walk that led to Gators skipper Kevin O'Sullivan coming out to the mound to visit with his freshmen flamethrower. 

Next up was South Carolina's Scott Wingo, a sterling clutch hitter sporting a .392 average with runners in scoring position. The senior delivered again, blasting a pop out to deep right field that allowed Mooney to tag up for the first run of the game.

Whitson's shakiness continued, as he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. with three consecutive balls after getting ahead of the count, 1-2.

Christian Walker returned to the plate with runners on first and second, and once again Florida's poor defense came back to bite the Gators. In a play eerily reminiscent of last night, Walker smacked a grounder to middle that was mishandled, allowing him to reach first safely and Marzilli to cross home for the early 2-0 Gamecock lead.

The damaged persisted with Brady Thomas' chopper up the middle that was just out of reach of Whitson, allowing Bradley Jr. to score the third run of the inning.

Finally Adrian Morales stopped the floodgates, hitting a grounder up the middle to end the bottom of the third; but by then the damage was already done. South Carolina scored three runs on just two hits in the inning. 3-0, South Carolina over Florida after three.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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Florida Vs. South Carolina Score, Game 2: Scoreless Tie Through Two Innings

Michael Roth started the second inning right where he left off the first for the Gamecocks, forcing Gator outfielder Daniel Pigott to fly out to left on a full count. Designated hitter Brian Johnson fared no better, striking out swinging after a admirable nine-pitch at-bat. Vickash Ramjit met the same fate, striking out swinging on a crackling breaking ball. Quick work by Roth.

In a game of anything you can do I can do better, Karsten Whitson came out throwing fire, striking out senior Brady Thomas swinging for the first out of the bottom of the inning. After working Gamecock third basemen Adrian Morales to a full count, the senior fell victim to the Gator hurler, grounding out to first. Next, Jake Williams stepped up to the plate briefly before striking out swinging on a smoking inside fastball.

Great pitching duel so far. Five strikeouts through two innings. 0-0, tie game.

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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College World Series, Game 2 Score: South Carolina, Florida Scoreless After First Inning

Game 2 of the College World Series Championship Series is set to get underway. After a thrilling 11th inning Game 1 victory by South Carolina, the Florida Gators will give it everything they have to ensure that this will not be the final night of their incredible season.

Taking the mound first tonight is Gamecocks staff ace Michael Roth. The junior lefty has been dominate all season, possessing a 13-3 record and an unbelievable 0.98 ERA over 137.1 innings. Florida has their work cut out for them.

Gator leadoff man Bryson Smith started the game off well, working a seven pitch at-bat into a single up the middle. He was promptly moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Fontana.

With a man in early scoring position, catcher Mike Zunino -- one of last night's scapegoats -- stepped to the plate and showed excellent patience, methodically working 1-2 count into an eight pitch walk that put runners on first and second. However Roth showed no anxiety, calmly inducing Preston Tucker and Josh Adams to fly out on consecutive pitches to escape the early jam.

Now it was Florida freshman phenom Karsten Whitson's turn to take the mound.

The youngster showed some early jitters to start the game, hitting Scott Wingo in the foot to give the Gamecock leadoff man a free pass to first. He rebounded quickly though, striking out centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging on a blistering 1-2 count. That was all the Gator needed to get himself going, as he hastily induced last-night's hero, Christian Walker, into a double play to end the inning. 

For more on the South Carolina baseball and Florida baseball teams, visit SB Nation's South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack and Florida blog Alligator Army. For more on the 2011 College World Series, visit our CWS hub.

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