College World Series: Pitching Keeps Gamecocks Alive, Forces Arkansas Into Elimination Game

by The Associated Press  on Friday, Jun. 22, 2012 7:46 am  

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OMAHA, Neb. — Lefty see, lefty do.

Hours after he watched senior left-hander Michael Roth's two-hitter against Kent State keep South Carolina's season alive, freshman lefty Jordan Montgomery did his best imitation of the Gamecocks' undisputed team leader when he got his turn against Arkansas on Thursday night.

Montgomery held the Razorbacks to three singles over eight innings, and the two-time defending national champions won 2-0 to force a rematch Friday night that will decide which team goes to the best-of-three College World Series finals against Arizona.

"Definitely watching Roth pitch that first game, I knew I just needed to come out here and put up some zeroes for the team and save the series and save the bullpen for the next game," Montgomery said.

The Gamecocks (48-18) have staved off elimination twice since Arkansas (48-18) beat them 2-1 on Monday, snapping their record 22-game winning streak in the NCAA tournament.

Coach Ray Tanner couldn't have hoped for a better outcome after the 4-1 win over Kent State. The only reliever he called on Thursday was closer Matt Price, who worked the ninth inning against Arkansas for his 13th save.

"For the second time today we got an absolute wonderful game out of our lefty," Tanner said. "Jordan followed up what Michael did earlier today and was outstanding. He's had some good games for us this year. And this was the best one."

The Gamecocks' runs Thursday came in the second inning on Tanner English's double and Chase Vergason's single.

Montgomery (6-1) struck out six and walked one in his first outing since June 3.

"Definitely pitching in front of 20,000 people maybe, plus, had me a little nervous in the bullpen," Montgomery said. "But after that first inning and I guess the way I settled in and the way the team was playing behind me, I was just kind of staying on cruise control and just went."

South Carolina is the third team in the 63-year history of the CWS to win two full games in the same day. The last to do it was Holy Cross in 1952, when it beat Western Michigan and Penn State en route to the title. Tennessee won two in a day in 1951.

South Carolina pitchers faced 57 batters in Thursday's two games — three over the minimum.



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