Omaha, Neb. — The College World Series is no time for rest, not when you’re trying to win your school’s first national championship in baseball.
South Carolina’s Blake Cooper wanted the ball for Game 1 of the CWS finals, even if it meant a second straight start off just three days’ rest. Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner hesitated at first, but ended up glad he let his senior right-hander talk him into it.
Cooper allowed three hits in eight-plus innings and Bobby Haney drove in a career-high three runs, moving the Gamecocks within a win of the title with a 7-1 victory over UCLA on Monday night.
“I certainly wanted to pitch him today,” Tanner said. “But I encouraged him to take another day, if he felt that it would be in his best interests.”
Cooper shook his coach off.
“I really didn’t think another day was going to matter at this point,” he said.
Cooper struck out 10 and carried a one-hitter into the ninth before running into trouble. He left after 136 pitches and the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth. Reliever John Taylor finished, but not before the Bruins broke up the shutout when Cody Regis scored on a double-play grounder.