The South Carolina baseball team has a chance to become the second team ever to win three consecutive national championships, but it will face a tough test against Arizona.
The Gamecocks are 49-18 overall this season and are 4-1 at the College World Series.
They are coming off two straight narrow victories over Arkansas that put them in the finals against the Wildcats.
Here are the keys in each area of the game to a South Carolina victory.
The South Carolina pitchers really need to just keep doing what they have been doing all season long.
The Gamecocks are first in the nation in team WHIP, according to NCAA.com, but they will be put to the test against the Wildcats.
Arizona is fourth in the country in team batting average and has seven players batting over .300. The team is capable of scoring in bunches and has put its last two games away with a single big inning.
They broke open in their game against UCLA with four runs in the fourth and did the same to Florida State with six runs in the first.
The Wildcats will score runs, but the South Carolina pitchers must not let these kinds of outbursts happen.
The South Carolina hitters need to do just enough to give their pitchers a chance.
The team’s lineup is not nearly as potent as Arizona’s, but they will have to scratch together at least a few runs in each game.
The batters struggled in the team’s three matches with Arkansas, and their lone loss in Omaha came when they produced just one run.
A single run is not enough, but the pitchers were able to pull out wins against the Razorbacks in the next two matchups despite getting just two and three scores in run support.
The team does not need much from its batters, but they will need to come through with timely hits to win the title.
Discipline and a lack of errors have characterized the South Carolina championship times over the past two years.
This team is third in the nation in fielding percentage this season and they must continue to play defense at a high level.
As noted, the Arizona hitters are extremely potent and the Gamecocks have struggled to score runs at times in Omaha. The team must win low-scoring games and the fielding will be just as important as the hitting in that endeavor.
If the fielders keep up their high level of play, the Gamecocks will be on their way to a third straight national title.