OMAHA, Neb. —
Zach Neal, who only lasted three innings in his Super Regional start at Virginia, pitched seven shutout innings and held the Gamecocks (50-16) to five hits.
Reliever Jeremy Erben, who pitched in all three of OU’s games in Omaha, gave up a single to South Carolina’s Christian Walker to tie to the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the senior cruised from that point.
Ogle had a premonition that holding the lead was going to be as tough as getting the lead. Even after his homer, he didn’t celebrate when he got to the dugout.
“As soon as I got back in the dugout the number one thing on my mind was, ‘Let’s go win the ball game,’” he said. “I knew it wasn’t over.”
He was right.
Closer Ryan Duke managed to get two outs in the 12th before things went haywire. He had two outs and a full count on Jackie Bradley Jr., when the Gamecocks’ best hitter laced a single through the right side to score Robert Beary to tie game.
That final out was the one Duke couldn’t get. He walked Jeffrey Jones on four pitches then gave up the game winner when Brady Thomas laced a single up the middle.
It was a tough way for the season to end.
“We scored a couple runs and we worked hard to score a couple more. We worked hard to end it with the lead,” Golloway said. “We couldn't do it.”
Eight teams arrive in Omaha every June. Only one gets to leave that way.
John Shinn 366-3536 email@example.com