For a little while, Kyle Martin found himself in the USC lineup.
Martin was to start Wednesday at designated hitter for the Gamecocks against Kent State before rain washed out the game.
The slugging Greenville freshman was used sparingly down the stretch and had not drawn a start since the regional opener against Manhattan on June 1.
“He’s fared pretty good against right-handers, so we were going to put him in there (Wednesday) against their righty,” USC coach Ray Tanner said.
Martin — who batted .323 in 65 at-bats and was coming off a strong Tuesday practice — could find himself back on the bench Thursday, should Kent State coach Scott Stricklin change his mind at the last minute and choose to start left-handed ace David Starn instead of right-hander Tyler Skulina.
In retrospect, Tanner said, it is possible Martin should have seen more time during the regular season, given the team’s revolving door at designated hitter.
“He’s been one of those guys — we’ve thrown a lot of guys in there,” he said. “Sometimes you’ll go back and say would have, could have, should have, maybe we should have stayed with this guy longer.
“But we’ve been able to win some games we’ve played with a lot of different people.”
After throwing 80-plus pitches on Monday night, reliever Tyler Webb was not available to Tanner for Wednesday’s game.
During the long rain delay, fellow hurler Michael Roth made certain Tanner wouldn’t change his mind. Roth and a few teammates taped Webb to a clubhouse chair. Roth promptly shared his handiwork with the Twitterverse via a picture.
“We taped down @twebb38 so Coach Tanner doesn’t get any ideas #RainDelay,” Roth tweeted.
Tanner said Webb likely will not be available Thursday, either.
With his win in the opening-round game against Florida, senior left-hander Michael Roth became the fourth pitcher in College World Series history to notch victories in three different seasons. He also won games in 2010 and 2011.
The other three-peaters in the College World Series were Carl Thomas of Arizona (1954, 1955, 1956), Greg Widman of Southern California (1970-71-72) and Allan Westfall of Miami (1994, 1995, 1996).
South Carolina’s loss against Arkansas in the winners bracket on Monday was a rarity. It marked the first loss by USC all season when allowing two or fewer runs. USC previously had won 25 such games.
The streak of winning while allowing two or fewer runs extended to 34 games into the 2011 season. The previous loss was a 2-1 decision at Alabama on May 19 a season ago.
USC does have another streak worth watching. The Gamecocks are 18-0 when scoring in the first inning this season.