College World Series 2011: Cardiac 'Cocks Miraculously Take Game One from Gators; One Win Away from Repeat National Title

Tell me you haven't been one step away from a catatonic state while watching the last two baseball games our Gamecocks have played. I'll tell you you're lying. I, and I'm guessing I speak for many of us here, have never felt more keyed up and exhausted after watching a Carolina sporting event than I have these past two games.

Carolina has played Virginia and now Florida into extra innings in both games, and in both our backs have been against the wall numerous times, yet we've always managed to prevail. The latest profile in what has been literally unbelievable clutch play? In the ninth, Carolina managed to get out of a no-outs, bases-loaded situation, when giving up a single run would have cost it the game. Then in the tenth, Jake Williams threw out a Florida baserunner at home, when, again, the run would have cost Carolina the game. To top it all off, Christian Walker scored the winning run from first base after Florida committed two errors on Walker's attempt to steal second.

Some of the things that Carolina has done in these past two games have to stand as records of some sort. Has any team ever gotten out of two no-outs, bases-loaded situations in consecutive CWS matches? I'm guessing not. The odds certainly seem against it. Has any team ever won two such games on errors? Again, hard to believe it's happened before.

A lot of people, both Carolina fans and not, will call what we're doing crazy. They'll say it's miraculous. And they're right to a certain degree; there's undoubtedly been more than a little luck in our success. However, it's not all craziness and miracles. What makes this Carolina team what it is is that it's so cool and collected in the most trying of moments. That quality has been on display more than ever these past two games. Surely, the pundits are right to say that Virginia and Florida have more raw talent than Carolina. Although we certainly have quite a bit of talent ourselves, it's the Cavaliers and Gators who are loaded to the brim with players the pro scouts are drooling over. Yet in both games Carolina has found ways to win by gutting out key plays, while the opponent has wilted under pressure. The contrast couldn't be more striking. Carolina, simply put, is a team that been there before and is not fazed when the other team gives us it its best shot.

And make no mistake, we took Florida's best shot tonight. Hudson Randall dominated this game early on, and my guess is that Florida wins with this performance against any other team in the country. It wasn't enough tonight, though, and tomorrow is our turn. Florida pitched its ace tonight; we pitch ours tomorrow. I expect to see Carolina come out and play at its very best in Game Two.

Indeed, I expect us to win. This team seems destined for a national title. We win that title tomorrow night.

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