The Gamecocks put an end to the Cinderella story that was Kent State on Thursday afternoon in the College World Series with a 4-1 victory.
After a postponement of Tuesday night’s elimination game due to rain, South Carolina senior lefty Michael Roth tossed a two hitter to keep the Gamecocks’ three-peat hopes alive.
SC pitching coach Jerry Meyers said that the decision to start Roth instead of Jordan Montgomery was not a difficult one. Roth was on a three day rest after defeating Florida and Montgomery had received the nod for Wednesday’s scheduled duel with Kent State. However, the rainout gave SC’s ace an additional day to recharge and Roth took the hill for the Gamecocks on Thursday.
Roth (9-1) delivered eight strikeouts with no walks and became the CWS’s all-time leader in innings pitched, with 53 over three years.
Kent State’s lone run came in the second inning when Sawyer Polen smacked an RBI single into center field.
The Gamecocks quickly turned the game around with four singles for two runs in their half of the second inning and struck again in the third when LB Dantzler cracked a two-run homer for a 4-1 lead.
Roth took it from there, retiring the last 22 batters he faced.
With the win, the Gamecocks advanced to a Thursday night 9 p.m. game against Arkansas who is undefeated in series play and will have to be beaten twice in order for SC to see its chance at a third consecutive championship.
Thanks to Roth hurling a complete, seven inning game, SC’s bullpen should be well rested and in good condition moving forward.