Gamecocks try to survive against Sun Devils

South Carolina (48-16) and starter Sam Dyson will face Merrill Kelly and Arizona State (52-9) on Tuesday afternoon in an elimination game in the College World Series. The Gamecocks will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to beat the Sun Devils one day after the Clemson Tigers knocked them to the loser's bracket. Coach Tanner previews the big matchup with ASU inside.

Omaha, Neb. -- It will be do or die in every sense of the expression tomorrow for the Gamecocks, who will put their 2010 season on the line Tuesday afternoon when they face off against the No. 1 seed Arizona State Sun Devils.

It was a heartbreaking loss for USC last night, as they fell in a hotly contested 4-3 ballgame against Oklahoma. Despite the tough loss, coach Ray Tanner said today that his team will be ready to go when they face the top team in the land tomorrow.

"It was a tough day yesterday for both teams, and it ended up being a great college baseball game," said Tanner. "We kept thinking we had an opportunity to win it late, but we never came up with the big hit. Our pitchers did a nice job but we didn't push enough runs across."

The Sun Devils will bring a 52-9 record into the game, and will present a formidable challenge for the Gamecocks as they attempt to send their foes from the Pac-10 to consecutive losses for the first time this year. State will start Merrill Kelly on the mound, who brings a 10-2 record into the game.

Coach Tanner said it is obvious how Arizona State has beaten so many opponents, by simply being great in several facets of the game.

"First impressions are they're very, very good," added Tanner. "We'll have to get a great game from (starter Sam) Dyson. They pitch, they play defense, they steal a bunch of bases, they're the #1 national seed for a reason. Fifty plus wins, so they've got all the weapons to be successful. We'll have to do what Clemson did today. We'll have to play a very, very good game and get a quality start."

Sam Dyson will start for Carolina in a must win to keep the season and a chance at the national championship alive. After only lasting one inning against Coastal Carolina in the Super Regionals, Tanner said Dyson will have to be sharper to stay in the game and get outs against the talented Sun Devil lineup.

"When he's got his A game going, he's going to be low to mid 90's pretty consistently, which makes his breaking ball better, which makes his changeup better," said Tanner. "His last bullpen before we left, Coach Calvi thought it was as good as he's had in awhile, so he's got to have a good game, no doubt about it."

No matter how it's done, the team knows that the ultimate goal for tomorrow is a win, no matter what it takes to accomplish that. After falling into the CWS loser's bracket for the fourth consecutive trip under Tanner, it is simply a mission of survival from here out for the 2010 Gamecocks.

"I don't think it's anything complex, it's try to survive and advance at this point, try to win a game," said Tanner. "You can't play with any type of anxiety or pressure, just go out and play and try to get it done and move on. We'd like to stay as long as we can."

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