OMAHA, Neb. — Michael Roth turned in another strong College World Series start, Erik Payne's bases-loaded triple scored the go-ahead runs and South Carolina began the last leg of its pursuit of a third straight national title with a 7-3 win over Florida on Saturday.
Payne's triple highlighted a five-run fifth inning that helped the No. 8-seeded Gamecocks (46-17) win their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament game, including three CWS games in a row over the Gators, whom they met in the championship series last season. South Carolina faces another SEC opponent, Arkansas, on Monday.
The top-seeded Gators (47-19) fell into the losers' bracket and face Kent State in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Monday (ESPN2).
The Gators scored two off Roth in the second. Justin Shafer and Vickash Ramjit, who had four of UF's nine hits, opened the inning with singles. After a failed bunt and a fielder's choice, a two-out double by Preston Tucker, a graduate of Tampa's Plant High, made it 2-0.
South Carolina opened the fifth with a double, single and walk to load the bases against Brian Johnson. Payne then hit a blast to right-center to score three. L.B. Dantzler followed with a double. Greg Larson replaced Johnson and immediately gave up a single to Chase Vergason that scored Dantzler.
The Gamecocks added two runs in the ninth with the help of two errors and two wild pitches.
Roth (8-1) went 6? innings for the Gamecocks, allowing three runs and seven hits.
FSU goes with another freshman pitcher
Florida State has relied on its freshman pitchers all season. Facing elimination today, that won't change.
The Seminoles (48-16), in the losers' bracket after Friday's 4-3 12-inning loss to Arizona, go with Mike Compton today against Stony Brook.
Compton started Game 2 of the Super Region against Stanford on June 10. Despite being given a 6-1 lead, he lasted only four innings, allowing two runs and 11 hits.
But Compton, 11-2 with a 2.86 ERA, said he hopes being an observer Friday, when fellow freshman Brandon Leibrandt lasted 4? innings, helps.
"It was a little bit of an advantage to see how everybody reacted to all the fans because it is a big stage out there," Compton said. "You just have to calm the nerves and treat it like any other baseball game."
Stony Brook, a Division I program for only 12 years, won its region tournament as a No. 4 seed, then upset LSU in the Super Region. It lost its Series opener to UCLA 9-1. The Seawolves (52-14) have not lost consecutive games since March 25. They will start sophomore Brandon McNitt (8-3, 2.50 ERA).
Arkansas 8, Kent St. 1: D.J. Baxendale and Brandon Moore combined on a four-hitter as Arkansas spoiled Kent State's Series debut Saturday. The Golden Flashes didn't get a hit until two outs in the fifth.