Gamecocks fall in Game 1, send Roth to mound tonight

Arizona pounded two-time defending national champion South Carolina 5-1 in Game 1 of the College World Series on Sunday night. Now the Gamecocks have the Wildcats right where they want them.

Fresh off winning three straight elimination games in CWS pool play, South Carolina is now 7-0 in go-home games over the past three seasons in Omaha.

Making a risky pitching move to start bullpen regular Forrest Koumas, South Carolina almost seemed to concede Game 1 against Arizona ace Konner Wade, who pitched a complete game against the Gamecocks.

South Carolina coach Ray Tanner chose to give his regular starters an extra day of rest and will likely counter with Michael Roth in Game 2. The Wildcats got to Koumas early and often.

Robert Refsnyder’s home run staked Arizona to an early lead it never relinquished and Wade pitched a complete game to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship series at TD Ameritrade Park.

Arizona (47-17) needs one victory to win its first national championship since 1986. South Carolina (49-19) must win Monday night to keep alive its hopes for a third consecutive CWS title.

Arizona, which hasn’t trailed in any of its four CWS game, jumped to a 2-0 first-inning lead on Refsnyder’s opposite-field homer off Koumas, who was making just his fourth start of the season.

Koumas lasted 2 1/3 innings and allowed four hits and three runs. He struck out three and walked one. Wade, meanwhile, pitched his second complete game of the CWS. He allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one.

Refsnyder, the Wildcats’ right fielder, finished 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. He also threw out South Carolina baserunner Adam Matthews at third base after Matthews tried to advance from first base on a single to right field.

Arizona added single runs in the third, fifth and seventh on RBI singles by Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean and Bobby Brown. The hits by Mejias-Brean and Brown came with two outs.

South Carolina’s run came in the sixth. Grayson Greiner led off with a double and scored on Evan Marzilli’s two-out single up the middle.

The two teams meet again at 8 p.m. Monday and at the same time Tuesday, if necessary.

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