South Carolina players celebrate following a 3-2 victory over Arkansas… (Gerry Melendez / MCT )
Tyler Webb and Matt Price combined for seven innings of shutout relief, and two-time defending national champion South Carolina returned to the College World Series finals with a 3-2 win over Arkansas on Friday night at Omaha.
The Gamecocks (49-18) took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning on Barrett Astin's two-out, bases-loaded walk to Adam Matthews.
South Carolina will play Arizona in the best-of-three finals beginning Sunday. The Gamecocks are trying to become the first team to win three titles in a row since that other USC, the one in Los Angeles, won five in a row from 1970-74.
Arkansas had ended South Carolina's record 22-game win streak in the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 win on Monday. The Gamecocks forced a second bracket championship game with their 2-0 win on Thursday.
Webb, who relieved Colby Holmes after the Hogs' first two batters reached in the third, gave up two hits in four innings. Price (5-4), who gave up one hit and struck out five, pitched three innings to earn his record fifth career win in the CWS.
The Gamecocks erased a 2-0 deficit in the fifth, with Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale walking Christian Walker with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. Baxendale had a career-high five walks.
Matthews looked ready to swing on a 3-2 pitch from Astin in the seventh, but he held up as the slider dropped low and Joey Pankake trotted home for the go-ahead run.
The run ended the Arkansas bullpen's streak of 26 scoreless innings and came on the ninth walk issued by the Razorbacks.
Colby Suggs (7-1) took the loss for Arkansas (46-22).
Wimbledon draw is set
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin the defense of his Wimbledon title Monday against Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former No. 1 player and 2003 French Open champion. The draw also slated Djokovic to meet 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals, then possibly six-time champion Roger Federer. That would be their sixth semifinal in the last eight Grand Slams, with Djokovic having won four.
On the women's side, Maria Sharapova, top seeded for the first time, has a first-round match with Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, and defending champion Petra Kvitova plays Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.
Andy Roddick claimed his 600th career singles win and reached the Eastbourne final when Steve Darcis retired after receiving treatment on his back. Roddick next faces third-seeded Andreas Seppi, who beat American Ryan Harrison, 7-5, 6-1.
Kim Clijsters withdrew from the UNICEF Open before the semifinals at Den Bosch, Netherlands, because of a stomach muscle strain, saying she did not want to jeopardize playing in her last Wimbledon before retirement.
Defending champion Fredrik Jacobson shot a four-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the suspended second round of the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn. The Swede had a nine-under 131 total. Charley Hoffman opened with five consecutive birdies and was a shot back through six holes when rain suspended play for the day.
U.S. Openchampion Webb Simpson says he'll probably skip the British Open with his wife due to give birth to the couple's second child in late July.
Inbee Park shot a seven-under 64 to take a one-shot lead after two rounds of the inaugural Manulife LPGA Classic at Waterloo, Canada, but there are 10 players within two shots of her.
Russ Cochran shot a six-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour's Montreal Championship.
Ashlan Ramsey and Kyung Kim advanced to the 36-hole final in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, each winning two matches Friday at Neshanic Valley in New Jersey.
Marcos Ambrose won the pole for the Sprint Cup race at Sonoma, Calif., with a fast lap of 95.262 mph, beating Jeff Gordon. It was Ambrose's second pole in a week.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winnerI'll Have Another is headed to stud duty in Japan. A representative of Paul Reddam said the owner has reached an agreement to sell the colt to Shigeyuki Okada of Big Red Farm on the island of Hokkaido.
Troy Dumais qualified for his fourth Olympic diving team, joining Greg Louganis as the only American men to do so. Dumais teamed with Kristian Ipsen to win the three-meter synchronized title at the U.S. trials.