USC isn’t the only team that can pitch in the College World Series.
After losing their first game of the double-elimination tournament against Arkansas, South Carolina clawed their way into the finals by defeating the Razorbacks in two straight showdowns by the scores of 2-0 and 3-2. While the Gamecocks’ pitching has carried them to where they are today, their bats must catch fire because Arizona pitchers will throw the heat as well.
According to the Associated Press, head coach Ray Tanner talked about the pitchers dual that USC survived on Friday. He said (via ESPN):
Obviously that game could have gone either way. That was one of those typical SEC battles on this stage. And both teams had opportunities to win. We just felt like for us to have a chance to win, we had to get nine innings out of (Colby) Holmes, Webb and Price, two or three apiece, and it kind of worked out that way. We felt we had to hold them to three, four runs max to have a chance to win. And it just kind of happened exactly like that.
While the Gamecocks rose to the occasion and triumphed against Arkansas with minimal run support, they won’t be able to do the same versus Arizona. The Wildcats are a different animal (pun intended, of course). They have yet to lose a game in Omaha.
In their first matchup of the double-elimination round, Arizona showed off their phenomenal pitching and held Florida State to just three runs in a 4-3 victory. They did it again against UCLA in their second game, this time shutting out the helpless Bruins. And this past Thursday, they surrendered just three runs to the Seminoles again, but instead of winning in dramatic fashion, Arizona showed off their bats as well, putting 10 dents in the scoreboard.
With both pitching staffs sure to be on their games, whichever team's batters step up the most will ultimately decide who'll be the last squad standing this season.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.