Two-time defending national champion South Carolina broke up a scoreless game through six innings with a pair of runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to put away Oklahoma 5-1 in the resumption of a suspended game from Sunday and advance to the College World Series for the third year in a row.
The loss ended Oklahoma's season. The Sooners finished the year with a 42-25 record. Oklahoma got back within one run in the bottom half of the seventh after the Gamecocks jumped in front 2-0 in the top half of the inning, but South Carolina's three-spot in the eighth pushed the lead out of reach, especially with one of the best closers in the country in Matt Price on the mound to finish the last three innings for South Carolina.
"We lost 25 games (in 2012), and we went toe-to-toe with a team that has won back-to-back national championships," OU coach Sunny Golloway said. Golloway has coached the Sooners in all three of their super-regional appearances.
"I think it's a tribute to the young men that represent the University of Oklahoma baseball team. It's hard to lost that many games and get this far," he said.
Oklahoma scored only one run on South Carolina pitching in the two games on the Gamecocks' home field and managed only nine hits total in the series. The Sooners went fifteen consecutive innings without scoring a run. By sweeping OU, South Carolina extended its winning streak in NCAA postseason games to 21 games. Oklahoma was the last team to beat South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, in the opening game of the 2010 College World Series.
The OU loss wasted a brilliant six-inning performance by Sooner starter Jonathan Gray, who allowed just three hits and struck out nine batters before the skies unloaded and driving rain washed out the game and forced a suspension until Monday.
Oklahoma is now 3-5 all-time in the NCAA super-regional round and 80-70 in 35 NCAA Tournament appearances.
The defending NCAA champs will draw the toughest opening-game assignment at the College World Series in Omaha later this week, having to face fellow SEC member Florida, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
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