Tonight was all about one thing… South Carolina’s Michael Roth… first start of the season, third appearance in the CWS, and he wasn’t expected to last more than three innings – AT MOST. Well… NINE innings later (yes, a complete game), he tossed a three-hitter and easily won a 5-1 “we eluded elimination again” game. To be fair, he walked one batter, and hit two. A great outing, but not a perfect outing.
Clemson’s Dominic Leone, on the other hand, started off shaky and never gained control. Lead off doubles in the 1st and 2nd each led to a run. In fact, he allowed a run in each of the first four innings, though Leone was pulled in the third and Haselden came in to relieve.
The only Tiger run came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Shaffer doubled, advanced as a results of a sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks capitalized on these same types of series – more than once.
Clemson left-handers struggled dearly against Roth. Finally, Miller got a base hit off of Roth in the ninth, but it proved to be too little, too late.
This writer (and every other “fair” writer) simply has to say it was a career highlight for Roth, and Clemson has to hope that their star pitcher, Casey Harman, will have another stellar outing tomorrow – to keep the Tigers alive. The challenge: Roth’s complete game saved USC’s bullpen from having to work tonight, so the entire staff is totally rested. Let’s hope for the white-hot Clemson bats that have been the staple of the post-season (up until tonight).
The teams match up again tomorrow at 7PM EST. It’s “do or die” time for both teams…
Who do you think will win game two between these two teams?