Gamecocks one win away from becoming back-to-back national champs

OMAHA, Neb. (WACH, AP) -- On the brink of its second straight national championship in baseball, South Carolina turns to its ace Tuesday night. Junior Michael Roth will start in Game 2 against Florida. It's his third start of the College World Series. Following Monday's 2-1, 11-inning victory, the Gamecocks have two chances to close out the Gators. Florida needs a win to force a deciding game 3 Wednesday. Game two of the best-of-three series is Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in Omaha. The game will be televised on ESPN.

USC is hosting a watch party for the game at Colonial Life Arena. Doors open at 7 p.m. and parking is free. Organizers say concessions will be available.

Monday night, Christian Walker, cleared to play with a broken wrist a half-hour before the game, scored from first base on two throwing errors in the 11th inning giving the win to USC.

In a finish that looked a lot like their 13-inning win over Virginia on Friday, the Gamecocks (54-14) performed defensive magic late, throwing out two runners at home plate in the bottom of the ninth and another in the 10th.

"We were just very fortunate to be able to win tonight," Head Coach Ray Tanner said.

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Florida had a chance to win in the bottom of the 10th inning with a runner on second when Gator's catcher Mike Zunino singled to left, but Jake Williams threw a strike to catcher Robert Beary who made the tag for the out.

"I had one of those weird intuitions that the ball was going to get hit to me, honestly, and I was just ready to make an accurate throw and try to get it in the air and make it have a close chance for a play," said Williams. "The ball was sure enough hit to me and I got a good throw on it."

Walker, who fractured his left wrist in the win over Virginia, singled up the middle to start the 11th.

Florida catcher Mike Zunino threw into center field as Walker stole second. Walker took off for third and was awarded home after Bryson Smith's throw from the outfield bounced away from Cody Dent and into the stands.

"I knew it was going to take a lot of pain specifically for me not to play," said Walker.

"Randall had my number all night," said Wingo. "That last at-bat, I think I swung through two sliders and I just said to myself: Stay late. If I get beat inside, I get beat inside. He threw another curveball and I was able to hit it up the middle."

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