The South Carolina Gamecocks (53-14) beat the number one ranked Virginia Cavaliers 3-2, before a record crowd of 25,882 at TD Ameritrade Park, to advance to the College World Series championship round in Omaha, Nebraska. It will be an all-SEC best-of-three championship series with South Carolina facing the Florida Gators (53-17) starting on Monday. The Gators knocked off Vanderbilt 6-4 on Friday.
The Gamecocks trailed 1-0 with Virginia starting pitcher Danny Hultzen striking out eight of the ten batters he faced. But the Cavaliers pulled Hultzen after he fell ill with Virginia in front at the end of the third inning. In the bottom of the fourth, South Carolina loaded the bases against relief pitcher Kyle Crockett. Brady Thomas looped a double to left center field allowing Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Christian Walker to score and give the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead.
Gamecocks starting pitcher Michael Roth left the game after seven innings, allowing just four hits, one earned run and a holding a 2-1 advantage. Virginia's John Hicks tied the game when he reached on a fielding error by Peter Mooney. The miscue allowed Chris Taylor to score and even the game at 2-2. South Carolina loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but Virginia reliever Branden Kline struck out Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Adrian Morales to end the threat.
In the top of the tenth, Matt Price (7-3) was in a bases loaded jam but struck out Reed Gragnani and the game remained tied. Price got into another bases loaded jam in the top of the eleventh and got Shane Halley to hit into a 6-4-3 double-play. Price got out of a total of three bases loaded situations tossing 5 and two-thirds innings.
In the bottom of the 13th, Virginia made two errors costing them the game. Cavaliers relief pitcher Cody Winiarski made a throwing error off a bunt by Robert Beary allowing Adam Matthews to score the game winning run. 3-2 South Carolina eliminated Virginia. The Gamecocks also beat the top ranked Cavs 7-1 earlier in the tournament. South Carolina has won four of their last eight games at the College World Series in "walk-off" fashion.
South Carolina will now face Florida for college baseball's national championship in a best-of-three series beginning Monday night at 8 p.m. EST. South Carolina won two of the three head-to-head meetings earlier this year in Gainesville, Florida. The Gamecocks won the national title last season and have now won a record 14-straight games at the College World Series dating back to last year. Florida has never won a national championship in baseball.