Gamecocks oust Kent St. on Roth's 2-hitter in CWS
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Michael Roth offered yet another example of why he's one of the most dominant pitchers ever at the College World Series.
Roth tossed a two-hitter, retiring the last 22 batters he faced, and two-time defending national champion South Carolina eliminated Kent State from the College World Series with a 4-1 victory Thursday.
"He is the biggest superstar our game has," Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said. "He throws 85 mph. He just knows how to pitch. He does everything the right way. Great student. I've got a ton of respect for him. I've enjoyed watching him on TV. I did not enjoy watching him today."
Roth's performance advanced the Gamecocks (47-18) to a game against Arkansas on Thursday night. They need two wins over the Razorbacks to advance to the championship round that starts Sunday.
The game against Kent State was postponed by rain Wednesday, which gave Roth a fourth day of rest since his win over Florida on Saturday. It wasn't a difficult decision to give the ball to Roth rather than Jordan Montgomery, who had been the scheduled starter Wednesday.
"Our season was on the line just like it is from here on out, so to not throw Mike against a quality team as Kent State is ... it would be real tough to live with if we didn't win that game," pitching coach Jerry Meyers said.
Grayson Greiner and Chase Vergason hit consecutive RBI singles in the second inning to erase Kent State's 1-0 lead. LB Dantzler homered in the third against Tyler Skulina.
Kent State (47-20) finished 1-2 in its first CWS appearance.
Roth (9-1) struck out eight and walked none. He was perfect after giving up Sawyer Polen's RBI single in the second inning.
"Once we scored, it's almost like we made him mad and he said that's not happening anymore," Stricklin said.
Roth, a senior left-hander, became the first CWS pitcher to throw a complete game with two hits or fewer since June 6, 1993, when Mike Fontana of Long Beach State threw a two-hitter against Kansas.
Roth also became the CWS' all-time leader in innings pitched, with 53 2-3 over three years, and tied a CWS career record for starts with his seventh.
"I don't really think about the past too much. Maybe you can draw from it," he said. "It's been nice to have the opportunity to pitch here for three years, and I just really don't take that for granted."
Roth threw 106 pitches, 70 for strikes.
"I was able to hit the strike zone with pretty much every pitch I threw," Roth said. "That helped me a lot. I didn't have any walks today. When there aren't baserunners, you can stay on that roll."
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