"A wagon fulla Gamecocks? In the Champeenship? I'd like to see you try!"
That's what some people, including the author of this post, said when asked about the Gamecocks' chances of going to the College World Series. Ray Tanner & Co. answered all of the skeptics when they beat arch rival Clemson for the second time in as many days to advance to the College World Series finals. The Gamecocks will take on the UCLA Bruins beginning Monday for the right call themselves college baseball champions. More on that later. For now, let's enjoy this win.
Obviously, Gamecock fans don't need me to remind them that USC's 2010 run in the CWS closely mirrors that of 2002. In both instances Carolina came out of the loser's bracket to take two games from Clemson and advance to the championship. What some people might have forgotten, though, is that USC lost the regular season series to the Tigers in 2002 just like they did this season. With Saturday's win the Gamecocks can officially claim the season series versus Clemson. A few quick notes for you:
2010's games with the Tigers proved to be a good bit closer than 2002. Each contest was decided by a one-run margin whereas USC walked over Clemson with relative ease in 2002.
South Carolina's all-time NCAA Tournament record is now 101-56. The Gamecocks improved to 21-16 at the College World Series. Saturday's win also ensures that USC will win more games than it loses in five of its nine appearances in the CWS.
One last note. Honestly, losing in embarrassing fashion to your arch rival TWICE on a national stage for the right to play for a championship is a pretty harsh fate to wish upon anyone, but it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of fans. For a fan base that used to call themselves the Country Gentlemen (sic), they sure have a knack for making themselves appear like inbred, degenerate yokels.