Michael Roth's reign of terror over the College World Series is about to come to an end. The decorated South Carolina pitcher has been a large part of why his Gamecocks are in the championship round trying to win their third straight title. But not even he will be able to help them stave off elimination.
On the strength of a 5-1 win in the opener, the Wildcats have to win just one of the next two games to win their first college baseball championship since 1986.
As good and as gritty as this Gamecocks team is, they will not be able to win two straight. Arizona's starting pitching is just too good. Their starters are a perfect 9-9 in this postseason run. In that stretch, they've thrown an amazing five complete games, and one of the starts that was not a complete game was a 9.1-inning outing by Kurt Heyer in an extra-innings affair.
Still, Game 2 is the one game where South Carolina is not at a starting pitching disadvantage. They have Roth, and with his start in Game 2, Roth will have made the most starts of any pitcher at the CWS with five. This start will help him extend his record of 53.2 CWS innings pitched.
It's not all quantity with Roth either. He is a perfect 4-0 in his starts and is just one of four pitchers to have registered a complete game with two or less hits and no walks.
Roth will have his work cut out for him as he tries to shut down the torrid Arizona lineup. But if anyone can do it, it is him.
The problem is that he is going to have no room for error. Arizona has three top-flight pitchers, and they will be sending their No. 3 James Farris to the mound. He has the goods to match Roth pitch for pitch, and he has the luxury of not having to face as hot of a lineup.
With Roth on the mound for Game 2, the Gamecocks at least have the hope of pulling out a victory. But in the end, that will only serve to delay the inevitable, and that is an Arizona Wildcats' championship.