Holmes, English help USC book return trip to Omaha

The Gamecocks are going back to the College World Series seeking to three-peat as national champions, and they have two local products for clinching the trip to Omaha.

Former Conway High pitcher Colby Holmes threw five scoreless innings on Sunday night before the game was suspended until Monday, and St. James High standout Tanner English scored the game-winning run in South Carolina’s 5-1 victory over visiting Oklahoma.

Holmes, who has not allowed a run in the NCAA Tournament so far this season, was forced to call it a night after thunderstorms cut his start short on Sunday in the middle of the sixth inning, while the Gamecocks wasted little time breaking the scoreless tie on Monday.

English, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, laid down a perfect two-strike bunt that scored Chris Bright all the way from second following an errant throw to third, allowing English to reach second base. He scored on Chase Vargeson’s sacrifice for a 2-0 lead.

Oklahoma cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame against South Carolina closer Matt Price, but it was the only run the Sooners could muster against the Gamecocks in the entire Super-Regional. USC tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth to claim their 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament victory dating back to a 2010 CWS loss to Oklahoma.

“It’s really cool,” the freshman English said. “Coming in, everyone has high expectations. You don’t want to let that get to you. You just want to come in, help out and play ball. It was cool watching them win two world series, and now I’m honored to be a part of the team going to Omaha and trying to do the same thing.”

The Gamecocks advance to the CWS to take on top-seeded Florida, which swept North Carolina State in the Gainesville Super-Regional. South Carolina defeated the Gators to capture their second consecutive national championship, and now they get to go for an unprecedented third CWS title.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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