Last night after South Carolina's nailbiter win over the Florida Gators in Game One of the Championship Series, I predicted that Carolina would again prevail in Game Two to bring home the hardware. Many members of the commentariat agreed. tryptic67 had the following to say in a popular post:
Today we took their best shot from their best pitcher and their best closers. Took their best shot from their best hitters. Survived. Won.
Tomorrow they get Roth.
The implication was clear: this time around, it would be Carolina going into battle with the heavy artillery, and there would be a good chance that the Gamecocks would win big.
Carolina didn't disappoint. Not only did it win, it did so with style. Roth delivered another great game--don't let the backhanded compliments from ESPN's crew of "announcers" detract from his fine performance. Moreover, the Carolina offense woke up with Gators ace Hudson Randall off the mound. The result was a performance that left little doubt as to who was the better team. I say this with all due respect for the Gators, who have a fine baseball team and a program that will be in the thick of things for many years to come. The Gators' search for their first national title won't take much longer. That said, and again don't let the narrative provided by the media make you believe anything otherwise, it can't be emphasized enough that we went 4-1 against the Gators this year, and that includes a series in the unfriendly confines of Gainesville. Florida had a great baseball team this year, but we had the best.
The victory and title put Ray Tanner's program in rarefied company. As you undoubtedly heard many times during the telecast, Carolina now owns the record for most consecutive games won in both the NCAA Tournament as a whole as well as the College World Series itself. The victory also makes us one of what is now only 14 teams with multiple CWS championships, as well as one of four programs to accomplish this feat in the new millennium. We're now up there with the sport's very best.
As GABA founder cocknfire wrote in the comments section of the game thread, now "we might have to learn...how to spell dynasty" here at South Carolina. I'm sure many of you are like me and thought this day might never come. Well, it's here. South Carolina, in one sport at least, is now certifiably elite. Hats off to Tanner and his fantastic baseball team for making it happen.