They fell into a must-win scenario, forced to play California at 7 p.m. Thursday. It will be the second time the teams have met in the CWS, and this time, both will be staving off elimination. Cal beat Texas A&M earlier in the day Tuesday in order to reach another losers' bracket game.
With its win, South Carolina (52-14) joined Florida as the only other CWS team to have won its first two games and reached the Friday semifinals. If those two teams win Friday, they'll advance to the finals. If not, they'll have rematches Saturday to see who moves on to next week's best-of-three final series.
Two-out base hits were the difference in Tuesday night's game.
Hitting cleanup one game after batting in the No. 9-hole, Gamecocks center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. began the game's scoring in the top of the first when he stroked a two-out double into the right-center-field gap to score Christian Walker. Walker reached base after two quick outs when Cavaliers third baseman Steven Proscia bobbled his hard-hit ground ball.
Virginia (55-11) had another error in the inning when South Carolina's Adrian Morales reached on a single that slipped just between the hole at first and second. As Morales crossed first base, a throw toward the bag was thrown away, bouncing into the Gamecocks' dugout along the first-base line. A run scored on the play before Morales was driven in a batter later on a Brady Thomas double off the center-field wall.
The Cavaliers failed to respond in their half of the first. They finally did in the fourth.
Leading off the inning, John Hicks ripped a lined shot into the left-field bleacher seats. It was his eighth home run of the season, and the first CWS homer that didn't land either over or in the bullpens. There have been just four total home runs hit during this World Series, far fewer than last year's pace.
In the third, the Gamecocks continued their two-out hitting ways as Morales, Thomas and Peter Mooney singled in consecutive at-bats. Mooney drove in Morales for South Carolina's fourth run.
South Carolina didn't need to wait to hit with two outs in the fourth. Jake Williams led off with a triple before being driven in by an Evan Marzilli double one batter later. Both base hits came off a pair of low-flying line drives that arced just out of reach of the Cavaliers' leaping middle infielders.
Virginia squandered another scoring opportunity in the fifth inning. After leadoff hitter Chris Taylor of Virginia Beach dumped a hit into shallow left field that the Gamecocks appeared to lose in the lights, the Cavaliers had the bases loaded. The base hit ran South Carolina starter Colby Holmes from the game.
His replacement, the submarining John Taylor, got the next batter, John Barr, to ground into a 1-2-3 double play, ending the Cavaliers' threat.
First pitch at TD Ameritrade Park was pushed back to 8:15 p.m. after inclement weather slowed the game's start by more than an hour.
This was the second CWS game to have been affected by bad weather. Monday night's game between Florida and Vanderbilt was suspended due to high winds and heavy rains. Fans and players were rushed off the field as dark clouds descended upon downtown Omaha. There were reports of winds that exceeded 70 mph at the time of the delay.
That game was resumed Tuesday morning, with Florida winning 3-1.
The Cavaliers are making their second CWS appearance; they went 1-2 in 2009. They beat Cal on Sunday to reach this game.
South Carolina is the defending CWS champion and got to Tuesday night's game after rallying in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to beat Texas A&M in a thrilling walk-off finish. With the bases loaded and a Texas A&M outfielder brough in as a fifth infielder, Gamecocks second baseman Scott Wingo slugged the game-winning RBI single to the base of the right-field wall.
On the heels of Danny Hultzen's and Tyler Wilson's strong combined shutout against Cal, the Cavaliers sent Roberts to the mound. The right-hander had thrown three complete games entering the contest and came in with a record of 11-1 and an ERA of 1.58. But he was held to his shortest outing of the year, taken out after 3-1/3 innings.
Holmes (7-3, 3.78) had not allowed a hit before Hicks' fourth-inning home run.