David Cloninger

All is not lost for Gamecocks

The Gamecocks lost to Oklahoma State in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regionals at Founders Park.
The Gamecocks lost to Oklahoma State in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regionals at Founders Park. gmelendez@thestate.com

It’s a bad scenario, but if the Gamecocks had to pick a bad scenario, this is the one they’d pick.

South Carolina has to win two games in two days to advance to the College World Series. They get to play both at home, and thanks to a rule change that should have been implemented years ago, they’ll get the true home-field advantage – last raps – in Game 3. There is no more coin toss to determine who’s the true home team anymore. Since USC is the host, it’s the home team in two of three games.

Now USC has to make sure there is a Game 3, and that’s all the Gamecocks were talking about after Thomas Hatch and Company bored holes in their bats in Game 1.

“As I sit up here, we get to play at Founders Park for two games with a chance to go to the College World Series, sign me up,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said, slapping the table for emphasis. “We have an opportunity in front of us.”

USC pulled it off a week ago, leaving a loss to Rhode Island with a 7 percent chance of claiming the entire regional and winning anyway. At least the Gamecocks aren’t unfamiliar with how to do it, and now they don’t have to worry about taxing their bullpen – outside of Braden Webb and Adam Hill (who would start Monday), all pitchers are available.

USC lost Saturday, somewhat because of its own mistakes, but mostly because Oklahoma State did exactly what it did in Clemson last week. The Cowboys don’t overwhelm opponents – they’re just patient, waiting for slip-ups and then taking advantage of them.

The Gamecocks did that in four straight games last week, where every break went their way. On Saturday, they didn’t get those breaks, but if history is any indication, Sunday will reverse the trend.

Happens Sunday, can happen Monday.

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