Taking a look at the Super Regional the first thing you have to do is tip your hat to Sunny Golloway. He was a class act from the beginning. He drew some ire from Carolina for his comments about wanting to face the Gamecocks, but we - myself included - may have taken his comments the wrong way. I think he just simply wanted to take a shot at the streak. What coach wouldn't want to be able to say his team ended the nation's longest winning streak? Coach Golloway was very complimentary, his team represented him well, and I think the Sooners won the respect of thousands of people over the weekend.
Unfortunately for Coach Golloway (and you could gather it from the Monday post game presser) it wasn't to hard to tell that the Sooners were just overmatched all weekend. Their best bet was to have stellar pitching performances and scrape across enough runs to steal a victory. Their hitting was not very good and they did not put up much a fight. With that said, with those young arms they will be someone to contend with over the next few years.
Michael Roth was great Saturday in the first game. He was effectively wild and was able to get out of any jams he got himself into. With that said, South Carolina is going to need the crafty veteran Roth that hits his spots and keeps hitters off-balanced if the the Gamecocks want to beat Florida Saturday night.
Sticking on the pitching, Sunday's showdown between Colby Holmes and Jonathan Gray was fun to watch. In poor weather conditions, both pitchers shut down the opposing offense. That was two in a row for Holmes after a horrible performance in the SEC Tournament. If Holmes is on in Omaha he will be tough to beat.
Once again the weather played a role over the weekend. The NCAA representatives did not handle the situation well. It did not rain nearly the entire time the tarp was on the field and the NCAA tried to rush and get the teams back on the field, but it was too late. It ended a heck of a battle between Holmes and Gray.
With that said, you have to credit the Carolina ground's crew. After all the rain Sunday and it raining for several hours Monday, when the teams took the field Monday afternoon the field looked like it hadn't rained a drop. They did an unbelievable job.
Tanner English laid down two great bunts. He laid one down the first base line in the seventh in hopes of just moving Connor Bright to third, but Evan Mistich tried to throw Bright out and he scored the games first run on the bad throw. English then pushed a bunt beautifully between the mound and first in the eighth inning that caught everyone off guard. It scored the third run of the ball game to help Carolina pull away and Chase Vergason followed with a two-run double to put it away.
Joey Pankake has received a lot of flak for errors this season, but he certainly deserves a standing ovation for his play in the ninth inning of Monday's game. Pankake went deep into the hole (onto the outfield grass) to get to a grounder and was able to get just enough on his throw to get the runner at first on a bang-bang play.
Roth and Adam Matthews played in their final game at Carolina Stadium over the weekend and Evan Marzilli, Christian Walker, and Matt Price all likely played in their final game as well. Walker nearly sent one over the wall in his final at bat, but it was well foul before he flied out to end the ninth.
There's not a better way to close the observations out than with Price. Price has found himself on the bottom of all three dog piles that sent the Gamecocks to Omaha and was also on the bottom of the pile in last year's National Championship celebration. Price has been everything you could ever ask for and has been simply cold-blooded on the mound. No one will forget the way he closed down the first game of the 2010 Super Regional against Coastal or the way he went 5.2 of extra inning ball against Virginia in last year's CWS. Though Monday's save wasn't the most memorable it did tie Georgia's Joshua Fields for the most saves in SEC history with 41. Certainly he's hoping to add a few more to the list in Omaha.
1. Stony Brook
4. Florida State
1. Kent State
3. South Carolina
Observations from the Super Regional
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