Michael Roth earned himself a spot among South Carolina's all-time baseball heroes with his effort in last year's College World Series.
Roth threw a complete game in beating rival Clemson 5-1 and then pitched five stellar innings in the Gamecocks' clinching victory over UCLA, a 2-1 extra-innings win.
The junior left-hander will begin the season in the starting rotation. He was 2-1 with a 1.34 ERA last season.
What are the expectations coming off a national championship?
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I don't feel like it will be any different than last year. With Coach Tanner and just the competitiveness on the team, we always want to go out there and win every game. We're not just trying to win 3-2. We're trying to bury people. We understand everybody's going to come out shooting. We will be too.
How do you think the team will do in 2011?
We’re going to be pretty good. We’re going to come out here to win. That’s what coach (Ray) Tanner prepares us to do. That’s we do out here every day. We’re not planning on a rebuilding year. We have a huge nucleus coming back with our hitting. Our staff as a whole has a bunch of guys from the bullpen back and a bunch of guys from JUCO that can help us.
Talk about your role this season.
Right now the plan for me is to be the starting pitcher on Saturday. I'm comfortable with that. I'm ready to help out the team any way I can. I understand that can change as the season goes on. We've got a bunch of potential starters. Right now I'm happy with it. I'm just ready to help out the team in any way possible so we can get back to Omaha.
With Blake Cooper and Sam Dyson gone, what's your take on USC's pitching?
As a staff, we’re going to be pretty good. We don’t have the experienced starters, but we have guys that have experience.
Are you expecting that national title to carry any weight when you face this year's opponents?
We know that's not the case. It's not the case with any sport. We hope there's a little bit of an intimidation factor. But we don't expect just to toss our hats and gloves on the field and for them to roll over.
Can you summarize the experience last year and the offseason that followed?
It was a lot of fun. It was an experience I'll never forget. I really enjoyed how much the fans and Columbia rallied around us. I wouldn't mind getting back there again. That's what we're shooting for.