COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It was the ultimate battle at Carolina Stadium this weekend. The Gamecocks hosted Connecticut, and the winner would advance to the College World Series.
After a two-game sweep, the Gamecocks are heading back to Omaha. Their first game will be played Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. against Florida State or Texas A&M. The game will be on ESPN2.
The Gamecocks beat UConn 5-1 Saturday night and 8-2 Sunday night. "We have the opportunity to go back to Omaha, to the ball park," said Coach Tanner. "I can't say enough good things about Coach Penders and his club, the class and integrity. Springs catching centerfield was absolutely astounding. I saw the Willie Mays catch, and I don't know if it's as good as that one."
Coach Tanner said his kids realized the importance of both games. After Saturday night's win, he knew his team couldn't play the "what if" game. "I didn't have too much time to think about it," said 1st baseman Christian Walker. "I know, as anxious as I am to hit in that situation, and I want to be the guy up, I mean you know someone behind you, especially on this team, is gonna get the job done."
That's because Coach Tanner knows exactly what can happen if you're forced to play a third game.
Back in 2000, the Gamecocks were the number one national seed. They won their first Super Regional game against Louisiana-Lafayette. But the Ragin' Cajuns won the next two, keeping Carolina at home.
The team has gone through a lot of adversity this year, losing some key players to injuries. The players said it's very good to be back in the final eight of college baseball.
The reigning National Champs made it to their ninth Super Regional appearance in the last 12 years, and they conquered it. It's one of four schools - Florida State, Call State Fullerton, and Miami University (Florida) - in the country to have accomplished the feat since the 2000 season.