Sooners face Gamecocks in elimination game

By Tobi Neidy

The Sooners (50-17) will face South Carolina (49-16) for the second time in the 2010 College World Series in an elimination game at 6 p.m. today at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.

OU previously outlasted South Carolina for the 4-3 win Sunday after two rain delays totaling six hours caused the afternoon game to go deep into the evening hours.

Following a 6-4 loss to Clemson (45-23) after the game resumed Wednesday after a rain delay, the Sooners need to beat the Gamecocks tonight to stay alive in the tournament and advance to a rematch with Clemson.

With the win, Clemson will play the winner of tonight’s game in the Bracket Two finals at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Sooners will need to beat Clemson twice to become the win the bracket and advance to the College World Series championship.

“We’ve just got to go out and play like we have been all year,” Cameron Seitzer said about going into Thursday’s elimination game. “Facing elimination, not facing elimination. We’ve got to go out and play the same intensity every game and just go one pitch at a time and play to the best of our ability and win three straight.”

OU Pitching — Zach Neal

The Sooners will start Zach Neal on the mound.

Neal, who hasn’t thrown on the mound in 11 days, is 8-3 on the season with a 4.65 ERA. The right-hander out of Flower Mound, Texas, last pitched in the Charlottesville Super Regional, lasting only three innings after giving up four runs on five hits.

Neal faired better the previous weekend in the NCAA Norman Regional against North Carolina. Neal allowed three runs while striking out 10 batters in eight innings.

SC Pitching — Blake Cooper

The Gamecocks will start their ace, Blake Cooper, a righty from Neeses, S.C., with a 12-2 record on the season and a 2.92 ERA.

Cooper received just his second loss on the year against OU in the Tigers’ opening game of the CWS. Cooper allowed three earned runs on six hits through five innings, including a solo home run by Caleb Bushyhead in the bottom of the second inning.

OU Still ‘Dangerous’ Ball Club

After falling to Clemson following a fourth inning meltdown by the OU pitching staff, Tigers head coach Jack Leggett had this to say when asked about who he would match up better with in the Bracket Two finals.

“Oklahoma has got some good balance,” Leggett said. “They’re a good ball club. Got a little speed, a little power. A little bit of everything. They’re a dangerous ball club. No question about it.”

Sooner Notables

The Sooners have homered in 22 of the last 25 games, including multiple home-run outings in both CWS games this tournament. Bushyhead and Garrett Buechele collected home runs in the first game against the Gamecocks, while Seitzer and Tyler Ogle went over the fence against Clemson.

OU is the only team with a previous national title (1951, 1994) still competing in Omaha.

During Sunday’s game against South Carolina, closer Ryan Duke tied OU’s record for career saves with his 28th after coming in during the ninth inning to finish the game. The record was previously held by Jeff Bajenaru (1999).

Bracket One Update

Florida State (48-19) was eliminated Wednesday night after a TCU (52-13) resurgence in the top of the eighth tied the biggest comeback (4 runs) for the Horned Frogs this season, as TCU rallied to beat the Seminoles 11-7. TCU previously beat Oral Roberts earlier this season after being down by the same number of runs.

The Horned Frogs scored eight runs on five Seminole errors to take the lead after trailing 7-3 through seven innings. TCU moves on to face UCLA (50-14) at 3:30 p.m.

The teams previously met Monday with the Bruins coming away with a 6-3 victory.

The OU-SC game will be televised on ESPN2 and

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