Forrest Koumas was just as pleased with his performance Monday as he was with how he handled the stress of being a true freshman pitching the first game of the College World Series finals.
"I really wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be," he said. "I didn't notice the crowd. It was just like another game back at Carolina Stadium.
Pitching coach Jerry Meyers said the key was for Koumas to pitch as long as he could given the limited availability of closer Matt Price. Koumas allowed three hits, a run and one walk in 5 2/3 innings, his longest outing since April 9.
His last start was May 5 against Stetson in the Columbia Regional.
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"Forrest Koumas gave us a quality start," Meyers said. "That was huge for a guy that we didn't use in the Super Regional."
The possibility of not playing in the College World Series championship hit Christian Walker hard. Playing through the pain of a wrist fracture was easier to bare.
"That's what I concerned about," he said after Monday's win. "I wasn't going to play all year and get to this point and not be able to play. Of course if I wasn't going to be able to give 100 percent I wouldn't have been in there. But I felt good and I felt like I could give everything I had."
Walker received treatment for the fracture before the game, hit five batting practice home runs and was a late insert into the lineup. He then led the team with two hits, added a stolen base and scored the game-winning run in the 11th inning.
Doctors determined Monday morning that Walker has a hamate fracture in his left wrist, an injury suffered in Friday's win over Virginia.
"It came down to dealing with the pain, just dealing with it," Walker said. "It was everything I expected. It hurt sometimes, but you try not to think about it. I tried to let the adrenaline get the best of me and tried not to let it bother me too much."
"I don't think anyone wanted to see me or Robert Beary playing first base." - Michael Roth after Monday's game