South Carolina ace Michael Roth must have won the argument. Or maybe there wasn’t even a discussion.
Roth joked after his start last Friday that coach Ray Tanner would probably avoid him over the weekend, mostly because Roth would be campaigning to start. By Sunday, the two hadn’t talked about it and on Monday, all signs pointed to Roth starting (even though Tanner wouldn’t confirm it after South Carolina’s 2-1 win).
Sure enough, Roth is out there on the mound for the third time in this College World Series. Roth pitched into and out of some trouble in the first inning against Florida, giving up a single and walking a batter before inducing two flyouts.
South Carolina wouldn’t want any other guy starting, though.
Here are Roth’s career stats in the CWS before Tuesday: In four starts, the junior left-hander has a 1-0 record and a 0.95 ERA, allowing 17 hits, walking 10 batters and striking out 18 over 28 1/3 innings pitched.
No wonder he’s on so many billboards around town. This blog found one. Here’s a Twitter photo of one. WLTX (a CBS affiliate in Columbia, S.C.) included a few shots of Roth’s billboards to lead into one of its stories.
Roth said his teammates have been making jokes about his celebrity status in Omaha since they arrived. It hasn’t bothered him, though.
This is the guy who quoted Will Ferrell in “Old School” after South Carolina’s win over Texas A&M. “We’ve got to keep our composure!” Roth also sprinted out from the dugout during a rain delay last week, trying to beat a Virginia player to a beach ball that had floated out of the stands and into the outfield.
But he gets serious on the mound, according to closer Matt Price.
“There’s two different Roths,” Price said. “You see him when he’s in the dugout, he’s a loose kind of guy, easy going, laid back. But once he touches that rubber, something clicks. He’s a different guy.”
We’ll leave you with a couple Roth stats as you watch the second game of this CWS championship series unfold:
- Coming into his start Tuesday, Roth has pitched 137 1/3 innings this year, which ranks fifth on South Carolina’s single-season chart.
- The earned run that Roth gave up to Virginia in the second inning Friday was his first since May 13, a span of 38 1/3 consecutive innings.
- Roth went 8 1/3 innings during a win over Florida on March 25, pitching eight scoreless before giving up two runs in the ninth. He struck out six batters and threw 110 pitches.