“At the end of the year, or the end of the job, if the cumulative effort is good enough, you get a chance to go to the postseason, and that is where it all starts.” — head coach Ray Tanner
“The 2011 Gamecocks annihilated opponents.
“As a team, South Carolina in 2011 finished with a 1.31 ERA in 10 NCAA Tournament games. The Gamecocks’ bullpen finished 6-0 with five saves and an incredible 0.53 ERA in 33.2 innings of work in the NCAA College World Series Tournament games. They did not allow a single, extra-base hit during the entire tournament.
“Freshmen – fresh boys – would take their places.
“Despite the loss of key veterans, Tanner’s vision for 2012’s recruiting class and veterans remained upbeat, even confident. He knew by the numbers that a lot of veteran players with outstanding performances under their belts, who stayed, would continue to perform at high levels. Veteran senior, Friday-night ace and All-American Michael Roth stayed on this year, as did All-American, junior closer Matt Price. Nolan Belcher; Ethan Carter; Colby Holmes; Adam Westmoreland; Tyler Webb; Patrick Sullivan, Logan Munson and Hunter Privette stayed. Forrest Koumas, who made the SEC All-Freshman Team and finished at 6-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 19 games and 12 starts, stayed.
“The biggest question in the minds of Garnet & Black coaches and fans was whether the new infield would gel into a working unit early enough in the season to give them a chance at the end. The infield situation — to get back to Omaha would be a lot to ask of freshman players, but they would work on it.”
Thus begins the story of the 2012 Gamecocks’ run toward a historic, 3-peat national championship …
copyright 2012, Ronald Joseph Kule All Rights Reserved.