South Carolina heads back to title series

OMAHA, Neb. — Adam Matthews scored in the bottom of the 13th inning after Virginia reliever Cody Winiarski botched two throws after fielding bunts, sending defending national champion South Carolina back to the College World Series finals with a 3-2 victory Friday night.

South Carolina closer Matt Price worked out of bases-loaded situations in the 10th, 12th and 13th innings.

The Gamecocks (53-14) will play Florida (53-17) in an all-Southeastern Conference best-of-three final beginning Monday.

Virginia (56-12) was the No. 1 national seed.

"I don't know where to begin," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. "That game had so much involved in it. This game certainly could have gone either way, and we just kept hanging in there and we were fortunate to get a couple of breaks at the end."

Brady Thomas singled leading off the 13th against Winiarski. Matthews came in to run and advanced when Winiarski pivoted and threw wildly trying to get him at second on Peter Mooney's bunt. Robert Beary followed with another bunt. Winiarski tried to get Matthews at third, but the low throw away from the third baseman, allowing the winning run to score.

"Beary had a great bunt in there and I slid in headfirst to third and the umpire motioned I was safe," Matthews said. "I got up. I didn't know where the ball was. Coach over there was telling me to go, go, go, so it worked out good."

Said Winiarski: "It's simple. They wanted to get an out (on sacrifices), and we weren't able to capitalize on that and just take what they were giving to us. Those are plays we practice every day in practice and just didn't execute."

Winiarski (6-4) relieved Virginia closer Branden Kline starting the bottom of the 13th. Kline threw 107 pitches in five innings of three-hit relief.

Florida 6, Vanderbilt 4

At Omaha, Neb., Preston Tucker drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single in the eighth inning and Florida advanced to the College World Series finals.

The second-seeded Gators (53-17) will play South Carolina (53-14) in the best-of-three championship round starting Monday.

Alex Panteliodis limited Vanderbilt (54-12) to three hits in six innings before five relievers squandered a 4-1 lead.

Daniel Pigott singled and Cody Dent and Nolan Fontana reached on consecutive bunts in the eighth before Tucker's hit. The Gators added a run on a wild pitch.

Austin Maddox (3-0) earned the win, Florida's fifth in six meetings this season against its SEC rival.

Sonny Gray (12-4) took the loss.

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