South Carolina vs. Arizona: Why Gamecocks Will Pull off the Three-Peat

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2012

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)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There's a college baseball dynasty brewing, and the Arizona Wildcats won't be able to stop it.

The South Carolina Gamecocks find themselves in position to win the team's third straight national championship when the final of the College World Series begins on Sunday night.

Remember, this South Carolina squad has won 25 of its last 26 CWS games—for all but the freshman on the squad, this isn't the team's first rodeo.

South Carolina doesn't just have championship experience on its side, however. The team has a lot of momentum after being forced to play two games on Friday due to a rain delay the night before. Twice they avoided elimination, knocking out Kent State before defeating Arkansas that night.

With momentum firmly in hand, the Gamecocks finished off the Razorbacks a second time on Saturday, setting up the final against Arizona.

What says momentum more than winning three elimination games in two days?

And what says resiliency like losing several starters, plugging the holes with true freshman, starting the season slowly and still finding a way back to the championship series?

Not too much, that's what.

All of this should not be construed as Arizona being chopped liver in this matchup. The Wildcats are 8-0 at the College World Series and have done so by mashing the baseball, scoring 79 runs in total.

This one should be a battle of contrasts, Arizona's potent lineup against the excellent pitching of South Carolina, which hasn't allowed more than four runs once in the tournament. The Gamecocks will certainly hope the old adage holds that good pitching always trumps good hitting.

Not to say that the Arizona staff won't keep things close, but if the Wildcats are to win, it will likely be because they end South Carolina's streak of keeping opponents below five runs, not because they win two low-scoring pitching duels.

Even if Arizona claims Game 1—a distinct possibility given it will be far more rested, having not played since Thursday—the Gamecocks will likely counter with starting pitcher Michael Roth in Game 2. All he's done at the CWS in his career is go 4-0 in seven starts (and three complete games) with a 1.34 ERA.

Not too shabby. As he's done so many times before, Roth will play a huge factor in this series.

At the end of the day, there just seems to be something magical about this South Carolina team. Conventional wisdom would suggest sticking with the team that's won every game in the CWS, but the stars just seem to be aligned for the three-peat.

Try as they might, the Wildcats won't be able to stop it.


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