OMAHA, Neb. - Preparations are complete and all that is left is Game 1. South Carolina finished up its final practice late Friday afternoon and had nothing but Florida on their mind.
Senior Michael Roth will toe the rubber on Saturday night at 9 p.m. to face the Gators (47-18) broadcast nationally on ESPN. The last time he was on this stage against the SEC East rival, he dominated.
Earlier this season, on a Thursday night on national television, he dominated. This, however, is a new game for Roth, who boasts a 1.17 ERA in 38.1 innings pitched in the College World Series.
“I know they’re a great hitting team,” Roth said. “They’ve been swinging the bats well lately. Just hopefully I can keep them off balance.”
While Roth is concerned about the Florida hitters, head coach Ray Tanner is worried about his own hitters. The Gamecocks could only muster five hits the last time they faced Johnson and putting up some runs is key.
“Probably the key is we have to figure out how to create some offense against Johnson,” Tanner said. “He’s like Andy Pettitte to me. The guy is phenomenal. He’s going to be a big leaguer. He’s a first round draft pick. They’ve got some really good arms and he’s one of them. If you have to figure out how to get some runs if you’re going to win.”
Greiner near (or at) 100 percent: The Gamecocks practiced for about 90 minutes on Friday afternoon on the turf field at Creighton University. Freshman Grayson Greiner is a player that everyone had their eye on to see just how well he could move on his injured left knee.
Greiner did some bullpen work and also took his cuts at the plate.
“I think he’s made a lot of progress,” Tanner said. “I’ve been kind of paying attention to him the last few days. I think he’s doing a pretty good job back there. He may not be 100 percent but he’s getting pretty close. It’s good news for us. Whether he starts or not is to be determined.”
While Tanner said Greiner is close to 100 percent, Greiner said, “I’m 100 percent” and he ready for whatever the coaches have in store for him.
Greiner was on the active roster in Super Regional play but did not get into either game against Oklahoma. He was inactive for the Columbia Regional after injuring his knee two days prior to the start of play.
Making Major waves: A trio of South Carolina alums are making major waves in the big leagues for the Baltimore Orioles. Three former Gamecocks - Steven Tolleson, Steve Pearce, and Brian Roberts - were all in the starting lineup for the AL East club on Thursday night.
Roberts hit leadoff and was 1-for-5 on the night. Pearce, who started in right field, was 2-for-4 with five RBIs. Tolleson was 0-for-3 with a walk starting in left field in his first game back up with the big league club.
“I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” Tanner said. “That’s exciting. It’s nice to have your former players do well in life whether it’s in the big leagues or whether they’re a CEO. That was a little bit of fun last night.”
Want to enjoy all of the premium content on TheBigSpur.com? Click HERE to find out how to receive access to the latest in South Carolina athletics. Get all the breaking news, insight from the best staff of insiders in the market, and join a lively message board community. Also check out our recruiting database, get free text alerts, and enjoy quality content from football, basketball, baseball, and other Olympic sports.