Party on for Gamecock fans
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 4:08 pm
By: By JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Back-to-back national titles for South Carolina’s baseball team mean back-to-back parties in Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena.
The Gamecocks will return home from the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., today and head straight to the school’s basketball arena to celebrate with fans at a party .
Fans might want to arrive early. About 13,000 people showed up for last year’s event after the team won just the second national title for the school in more than 100 years of athletics.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin also promises another downtown parade.
The baseball team’s amazing run through two College World Series has been a bright spot in a mostly dreary century of athletics for the Gamecocks.
Last year’s national championship was the first in a men’s sport and just in second in any sport for the school’s athletic teams.
During the postseason run, South Carolina won four games in extra innings and seven of those games by one run.
The Gamecocks made it to the championship series by beating Virginia 3-2 in a 13-inning game where the Cavaliers had the bases loaded in the eighth, 10th, 12th and 13th innings and never scored.
Three days later, South Carolina won the opener in the title series against Florida 2-1 in 11 innings, holding the Gators scoreless in the bottom of the ninth after they got the bases loaded with no outs and throwing out what would have been the winning run coming from second on a single at the plate in the 10th.
It’s almost as if these Gamecocks are single-handedly trying to atone for all the heartache their fans have suffered.
The men’s basketball team hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game in nearly four decades and became one of only four No. 2 seeds to lose in the first round in 1997.
The football team’s first trip to the Southeastern Conference title game last season ended in a 56-17 rout to Auburn. A generation before, South Carolina’s only chance to climb to No. 1 in the rankings ended in November 1984 with a 38-21 loss to a Navy team that came in 3-5-1.