|6/9/2012 12:55:00 AM|
One fateful night
Key plays vs. OU began USC's run
|By DARRYL SLATER|
COLUMBIA - The sun had long since set on the old ballpark in Omaha, Neb.
South Carolina and Oklahoma were playing under the lights now at Rosenblatt Stadium, in the bottom of the 12th inning of their elimination game in the 2010 College World Series. The Gamecocks trailed 2-1 after Oklahoma scored a run in the top of the 12th.
They had been at it for close to four hours, and the end was near for USC as it tried to win its first World Series in its ninth trip to Omaha.
The decisions that came next - by coaches, players and an umpire - changed USC forever. Without them, the 8,200-plus fans who will stream into Carolina Stadium tonight for the NCAA tournament Super Regional opener against Oklahoma would not walk by the 2010 and 2011 national championship trophies, encased in glass beyond the centerfield wall.
It started, that Thursday night, with a pitching change. To start the 12th, Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway replaced Jeremy Erben, who threw four scoreless innings, with Ryan Duke. Robert Beary led off with a single, then leadoff hitter Evan Marzilli struck out.
USC coach Ray Tanner knew he needed to do something to move Beary, a slow runner, so he had third base coach Chad Holbrook signal a hit-and-run to the next batter, Whit Merrifield.
SEE MORE IN SATURDAY'S INDEX-JOURNAL.
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