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Florida vs. South Carolina: Players to Watch in 2011 World Series Rematch

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Peter Mooney #6 of the South Carolina Gamecocks scores a run in front of Mike Zunino #3 of the Florida Gators during game 2 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 28, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2012

Florida and South Carolina is not just an intriguing matchup because of the deja vu factor. This battle will feature several headline players worthy of your attention.

Two 45-plus win teams bring a ton of talent to the table. Each team's pitching staff features elite arms, and each lineup is littered with high-caliber sluggers.

You may not watch college baseball year-round, but the College World Series always should always glue your eyeballs to the television screen.

Let's take a look at which players will make sure your eyes stay glued to the tube.


Michael Roth

Roth will start the game on the bump for the Gamecocks tonight. He is 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA this season.

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Pitcher Michael Roth #29 of the South Carolina Gamecocks throws against the Florida Gators during game 2 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 28, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

He was drafted in the ninth round this year by the Los Angeles Angels. He would have gone higher, but his lackluster power numbers hampered that process. Over 115 innings, Roth struck out 79 batters and walked 37. 

If you're a fan who loves to watch pitching, Roth is one to watch tonight. The southpaw uses a solid mix of off-speed offerings to offset his low-90s fastball.

His control needs work, but he has an impressive array of noteworthy pitches.

Florida is No. 1 in the nation for a reason. Roth will need to shut down their excellent lineup in order for the Gamecocks to claim victory in tonight's tilt. 

Watching him do it will be fun by itself.


Mike Zunino

Zunino recently won the Dick Howser Award. This honor is vested upon college baseball's best player.

Does that sound like someone worth watching? Yeah, I thought so too.

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 27:  Catcher Robert Beary #4 of the South Carolina Gamecocks makes the out against Mike Zunino #3 of the Florida Gators in the 9th inning during game 1 of the men's 2011 NCAA College Baseball World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Ju
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Zunino hit 19 home runs and knocked in 64 RBIs while batting a .322 clip. He has an excellent all-around approach at the plate, shows tremendous discipline and sprays the ball to all fields.

These reasons, and more, are why the Mariners took Zunino No. 3 overall in the MLB Amateur Draft earlier this month.

He has been compared to Jason Varitek because of his leadership skills. If the Gators hope to advance, they will need Zunino to follow through on that comparison.

Zunino's power will play well against Roth's sound approach.


Christian Walker

Walker is the Gamecocks' best hitter. He hit .315 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs this season. 

The Gamecocks will rely on Walker to lead the way against Florida left-hander Brian Johnson tonight. His power surge could pack enough punch to give South Carolina the edge offensively. 

The Baltimore Orioles selected Walker in the fourth round because of his power. Corner infielders must have power in the major leagues if they want to hold their spots for more than a temporary basis.

Walker will never win a Gold Glove, but he is a complete hitter. 

He has gap-to-gap power, a sound approach and understands his own strengths. 

Watching Walker attack Johnson's offerings will be fun to watch. He is an exciting, powerful hitter with the propensity for clutch performances, as you can see here.

The Gamecocks will rely on Roth to win the game, but Walker can provide their lineup with an advantageous jolt in the run department. 

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