History working against South Carolina

South Carolina continued its quest for a third straight National Title after beating Oklahoma in the Super Regional. Now it finds itself in a rare position in Omaha and will need to defy history and capture a third championship. We also take a look at the history of the eight teams in the CWS.

In the history of college baseball five other teams have done what South Carolina did last year. In the 64th College World Series, Carolina became the sixth team to win back-to-back National Championships. Only one program has done what Carolina will attempt to do beginning Saturday night; winning three straight National Championships. Only Southern Cal, who won an astounding five titles from 1970-74, has won more than two.

In 1950 Texas became the first back-to-back champions in just the fourth year in the existence of the College World Series. It took twenty years for the next back-to-back champions when Southern Cal took home its five titles. Stanford won its second title in the 1988 season, with LSU doing it in 1996-97, Oregon State doing it in 2006-07, and South Carolina winning the last two.

History is clearly not on USC's side as they left Carolina Stadium Wednesday to head to Omaha. There is a reason only one program has successfully won its third title in 64 years. The fact that South Carolina is even in Omaha this season has defied history. Of the five previous back-to-back winners, LSU is the only team that had its run ended in Omaha. The other four did not appear in the College World Series the year their streak ended. There's also that 21-game winning streak in NCAA Tournament games that makes it hard to bet against the Gamecocks.

South Carolina faces a familiar foe Saturday night when they face Florida for the fifth time this season, with the Gators winning three of the previous four meetings. It will also set up a rematch of last year's CWS Finals where the Gamecocks swept the Gators. They will also see a familiar face on the mound, one that has been tough to figure out; Hudson Randall. Randall will be facing Carolina for the fifth time. Randall is 1-0 in the four previous starts and has given up just five earned runs in 27.2 innings. Randall pitched 5.1 innings and gave up just two earned runs in a 5-2 Florida win in 2010 that clinched the SEC Championship for the Gators. He followed that up with a complete game in 2011, giving up one unearned run in a 2-1 Florida win. The Gamecocks would get their first win over the Gators in a game that Randall started in game one of the 2011 College World Series. Carolina won the game 2-1, but Randall pitched 7.2 innings with one earned run. Carolina's only win against Florida in the 2012 season came with Randall on the mound. Carolina had its most success against Randall, tagging Randall for seven hits and two earned runs in 5.2 innings in a 9-3 Carolina win.

Under almost any circumstance Florida likes it chances with Randall on the mound against anyone. That is unless they see Michael Roth staring back at them from the mound. Roth will be facing the Gators for the fourth time in his career and his is 2-0 in his first three starts. Roth outpitched Brian Johnson last season in Gainesville, going 8.1 innings with two earned runs. Roth picked up the championship-clinching win last June against the Gators where he went 7.2 innings and gave up two earned runs. In the only game Roth and Randall went head-to-head, Roth got his only no-decision against the Gators after throwing 6.2 innings with one earned run. Matt Price finished the final 2.1 innings when the Gamecocks exploded for seven runs. If Roth has a similar performance Saturday night the Gamecocks have a shot.

Florida was the easy selection for the top seed in the tournament despite struggling down the stretch. The Gators lost as many games in their last 20 games as they did their first 40. Even with the struggles, Florida took care of business in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament as did Carolina. The Gators swept through their Regional and topped NC State in the Super Regional. Many predict the winner of Saturday night's game will head to the Championship series, and it is very likely that one of the two pitchers will start for the final time.

Teams in the CWS

South Carolina


Carolina is making their eleventh appearance in the College World Series, twelfth all time in appearances. The Gamecocks made three appearances in the National Championship game (1975, 1997, 2002) and two appearances in the current National Championship series format (2010, 2011). Carolina is tenth all-time with 28 CWS wins.

Florida

Florida is making its eighth appearance in the College World Series, tied for fifth with Texas A&M and Mississippi State for most appearances without a National Championship. The Gators join the Gamecocks as the only two 2012 CWS participants that made the field in 2010 and 2011.

Kent State

The Flashes are in Omaha for the first time in program history. This is the fourth consecutive season Kent has made the NCAA Tournament and twelfth all-time. The Flashes first made the NCAA Tournament in 1964. They did not make it back until 1992 when it went three years in a row. Kent has appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments since 2001.

Arkansas

Like Florida, Arkansas finds itself in the top 10 for CWS appearances without a National Championship. The Razorbacks are in Omaha for the eighth time, but has not ever made it in back-to-back seasons. Arkansas made it all the way to the Championship series in its first appearance in Omaha back in 1979, where it lost twice to Cal State Fullerton. That was Arkansas' only appearance in the CWS Finals. Arkansas last made the CWS in 2009, where it went 1-2.

Florida State

To say the Seminoles are due for a chance at a National Championship is an understatement. FSU is in the CWS for the 21st time, tied for fourth with Southern Cal in all-time appearances. Unlike those around them in appearances, FSU has a big goose-egg in National Championships. The ‘Noles are at the top of the list for appearances without a National Championship, nine more than Clemson's 12 that has the Tigers second on the list. FSU has made the Championship three times, falling to the Southern Cal dynasty in 1970, Arizona – who they face Friday night – in 1986, and Miami in 1999. The Seminoles have made the NCAA Tournament 35 years in a row.

Arizona

Arizona advanced to Omaha for the 16th time and has more National Championships than any other CWS participant with three. They won the 1976, 1980, and 1986 National Championships. However, the Wildcats are in Omaha for just the second time since that last championship, also appearing in 2004.

Stony Brook

Like Kent, Stony Brook is making its first appearance in Omaha. The Seawolves is the only four-seed to make it Omaha, defeating LSU in the Super Regional. Stony Brook won the Cinderella role from Kent and could cause some problems for whoever they face. The Seawolves are in the NCAA Tournament for just the fifth time in program history.

UCLA

UCLA is making its fourth trip to Omaha and is in the CWS for the first time since losing the 2010 CWS Finals to South Carolina. The Bruins went 0-4 in their first two appearances in 1969 and 1994. The Bruins finally broke through at Omaha in 2010, sweeping its side of the bracket before falling to the Gamecocks.


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