In honor of the 5-year anniversary of South Carolina’s 2010 baseball National Championship, TRC is briefly recapping each game of the magical postseason run. Today we look at the first game of the CWS, and first of two against Oklahoma.
My personal feeling of “just happy to be here” had worn off exactly one week after the Gamecocks secured their first trip to Omaha since 2004. Our half of the College World Series bracket looked daunting – top-ranked Arizona State, 50-win Oklahoma, and a Clemson team that had taken 2 of 3 from us in March, including a humiliating 19-6 loss on our home field – but I had convinced myself this team was capable of making a run.
We were to open with the Sooners on Sunday afternoon, but as I tuned in to ESPN it was obvious the game was going to be delayed for a while. And boy was it ever.
The game was initially delayed for four hours, and then was halted again for two more hours with Oklahoma clinging to a 3-2 lead. Aside from two homers, one each by Christian Walker and Jackie Bradley, the Gamecock offense was stymied for most of the night.
Down 4-2 in the eighth, USC was able to load the bases with two outs, but the threat ended with a Brady Thomas line out to end the inning. Then they loaded them again in the ninth, but with one out Whit Merrifield fouled out to the third baseman. After a walk to Bradley to cut the lead to 4-3, Adrian Morales cut on the first pitch he saw and flew out to center to end the game and drop the Gamecocks into the loser’s bracket.
The story of the game, besides the interminable rain delays, was South Carolina’s inability to get a big hit with runners in scoring position. (As you well know, that inability wouldn’t last long as there were some huge clutch hits to come.)
To make matters worse, Clemson took down #1 Arizona State the next day in a surprising upset. So here we were in the loser’s bracket, knowing that an extended stay in Omaha would have to include at least one win over our hated rival.
As some would say, the situation was not ideal.
Next: Game 2 of the 2010 CWS – Taking Out Some Frustration