OMAHA, Neb. — Whit Merrifield's RBI single with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning gave South Carolina its first baseball national championship with a 2-1 victory over UCLA in the College World Series on Tuesday night.
The Gamecocks (54-16) won six straight after losing their CWS opener against Oklahoma. They beat UCLA 7-1 on Monday in the first game of the best-of-three-finale.
In the 11th, Scott Wingo drew a leadoff walk. He took second when catcher Steve Rodriguez, perhaps distracted when Evan Marzilli squared to bunt, let an inside 1-and-0 pitch get past him. Wingo moved to third when Marzilli got a bunt down, and he scored when Merrifield drilled a 2-and-0 pitch by Dan Klein (6-1) past a pulled-in outfield of the Bruins (51-17).
In the top of the 11th, UCLA's Brett Krill launched a pitch to deep left-centerfield that appeared to be headed to the seats, but it landed in the glove of Jackie Bradley Jr. for the first out.
UCLA took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Trevor Brown hit a high bouncer to short to start the inning and just beat the throw to first from South Carolina shortstop Bobby Haney. After Steve Rodriguez dropped a bunt down the first base line to advance Brown to second, Niko Gallego hit a looper to left-center to score him.
South Carolina tied it in the eighth on an error by first baseman Dean Espy. A hit by Haney went off his glove for an error and past second baseman Cody Regis into rightfield, allowing pinch runner Robert Beary to score from second.
conference switching: The Western Athletic Conference does not plan to replace departing Boise State for the 2011-12 season. Commissioner Karl Benson said the WAC will operate with eight members and won't add schools until July 1, 2012, at the earliest. Boise State will join the Mountain West after this season. … Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn said he hopes to know within a month how much it will cost the school to bolt the Big 12 for the Pac-10. Lawyers are discussing an exit strategy for Colorado, which announced this month it will switch leagues in 2012.
USF: FSU assistant Chris Malloy was hired as men's golf coach. Malloy, 32, helped the Seminoles to the ACC title in 2008 and a third-place finish in this year's NCAA championships. He replaces Jim Fee, who after 14 seasons moved this month into a new job as director of athletic events and championships. … Baseball pitching coach Lazer Collazo, 46, a part of Lelo Prado's staff since his days at Louisville, resigned to spend more time with his family.
Basketball: CBS will broadcast the second Duke-North Carolina men's game next season in prime time. The Blue Devils' visit to Chapel Hill will be the first time a game in the rivalry will air in prime time on a non-cable network. The game is at 8 p.m. March 5.
Football: A statue of Alabama coach Nick Saban might not be ready in time for the Sept. 4 season opener against San Jose State. Thad Turnipseed, the Crimson Tide's director of athletic facilities, said the unveiling might have to wait until midseason in order to get the statue, honoring Saban for the program's national title last season, just right. The four previous Tide coaches to win national titles have statues outside the stadium: Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul "Bear" Bryant and Gene Stallings. Turnipseed said the first two 3D photos of a clay model of the Saban statue were rejected partly because the face and hair weren't right. Saban, wife Terry and athletic director Mal Moore will soon be presented with a third version.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.