Coach: Game­cocks not great, but good enough

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Eric Olson

OMAHA, Neb. — It was said of­ten dur­ing the Col­lege World Se­ries that it isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the best team that wins the ti­tle but the team that plays the best base­ball.

That rings es­pe­cially true to Ray Tan­ner, who de­scribed his South Carolina team as good but not great even af­ter they swept UCLA in the fi­nals.

“We ap­proached it the right way all sea­son and found a way to win and never gave in, never gave up,” Tan­ner said.

The Game­cocks (54-16) won their first na­tional cham­pi­onship in a men’s sport late Tues- day with their 2-1, 11-in­ning vic­tory. Whit Mer­ri­field’s RBI sin­gle de­cided the fi­nal CWS game to be played at Rosen­blatt Sta­dium. The event moves from Rosen­blatt, the home of the CWS since 1950, to a new sta­dium next year.

South Carolina clearly wasn’t as dom­i­nant as cham­pi­ons such as the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia teams of the 1970s or the LSU Tigers of the 1990s.

The Game­cocks were South­east­ern Con­fer­ence run­ner­sup, and they went two games and out at the SEC tour­na­ment. They had to win a pair of one-run games against Coastal Carolina in the su­per re­gional.

Rel­a­tive to other teams in the of­fen­sive-fu­eled col­lege game, the Game­cocks’ num­bers were mod­est. Their .300 team av­er­age ranked 173rd out of 292 Di­vi­sion I teams. Though they were 12th in home runs with 97, the most by one player were Jackie Bradley’s 13.

Bradley’s team-lead­ing .368 av­er­age didn’t even rank among the top 250, and his 60 RBIs were 167th. But Bradley, the Most Out­stand­ing Player in Omaha, had a CWS-high nine RBIs in seven games and hit .345 (10 for 29).

South Carolina bat­ted .284 in Omaha, the low­est av­er­age by a na­tional cham­pion since Ore­gon State hit .281 in 2006.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.