Postgame video from the Gamecocks' 7-1 victory over Virginia.
Over from the start: USC trounces UVA
And that was the case again Tuesday in the Gamecocks' second game of the 2011 CWS as they jumped on Virginia with a three-run first inning and never looked back in a 7-1 victory. The defending national champs move within one win of returning to the championship series.
"South Carolina, really, quite frankly beat us in every phase of the game tonight," Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor said.
Sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes, making his first career CWS start, didn't get the win but gave Carolina the solid footing it needed before John Taylor came on and pitched 4.1 outstanding innings.
"We pitched extremely well," head coach Ray Tanner said. "We played really tough defense, had some timely hitting. Really probably can't play any better than that."
Holmes got a big boost from his offense before he ever had to throw a pitch when an error on Virginia third baseman Steven Proscia sparked a two-out rally in the first allowing Carolina to jump on UVA starter Will Roberts (L, 11-2).
Jackie Bradley, Jr., who returned to the line-up Sunday but hit ninth was moved up into the clean-up role and quickly rewarded head coach Ray Tanner with a double to right center. Walker scored on the play to put Carolina up 1-0. Bradley then scored on an Adrian Morales single to right and Morales moved up to third on a throwing error. A Brady Thomas double to deep center field scored Morales to put USC up 3-0.
That lead was all Holmes would need as he cruised through four innings -- only giving up a solo home run to John Hicks in the fourth -- before getting into trouble in the fifth.
South Carolina continued its onslaught in the third when it scored on a Peter Mooney RBI single. A Jake Williams triple to lead off the fourth set the table for RBI doubles from Evan Marzilli and Walker as the Gamecocks pushed their lead to 6-1.
Virginia only truly threatened Carolina's lead in the fifth inning.
A David Coleman single led off the inning, and after a strikeout, Holmes walked Keith Werman. Chris Taylor then hit a pop fly to shallow left center but shortstop Peter Mooney lost it in the lights as it dropped between him and Bradley to load the bases. That forced Tanner to go to John Taylor out of the bullpen.
"Colby gave us a quality start," Tanner said. "I really felt bad getting him out of there when I did, but we lost the pop up in the sky there, and just felt like we needed to try to put a ball on the ground."
And Taylor did just that as any momentum the Cavs had was short lived. Just like he did in the super regionals against Connecticut, Taylor induced John Barr into an easy 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. Before that, Barr hadn't hit into a double play all season.
"That's just how our night was going all night, basically," Proscia said. "We were hitting balls, some good, some bad, and their defense was just making plays. That was a big spot."
A spot the Cavs never really seemed to recover from.
Holmes gave up just four hits and an earned run in his 4.1 innings of work while trying a career high with 7 strikeouts.
Taylor stayed in for nearly the rest of the game as Matt Price came in and got a quick final out.
Taylor gave up just a hit and a walk in his 4.1 innings of work and received the win.
Both pitchers got plenty of help from their defense as the Gamecocks turned three double plays and came within a fraction of a fourth that likely would have been one of the best plays of the CWS.
"They certainly turned a couple of double plays that were pretty special plays and got them out of some jams," O'Connor said.
Carolina added another run in the eighth on Walker's RBI single. Six different Carolina hitters had RBIs.
South Carolina now gets two days off and will play the winner of Thursday's Virginia-Cal rematch Friday night at 7 p.m. A win Friday or even Saturday in the if-necessary game would send the team to its second straight national championship series.
"It feels good. I mean, everybody's, of course, trying to be 2-0," Bradley said. "It puts you in a good spot. But we know that we're a long way from where we need to be. ... We're not taking anything for granted."
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