College Sports

Gamecock great Michael Roth steps away from pro baseball

USC’s Michael Roth delivers a pitch in the first inning during the first game of the Gamecocks series against LSU at Carolina Stadium, Friday, May 18, 2012.
USC’s Michael Roth delivers a pitch in the first inning during the first game of the Gamecocks series against LSU at Carolina Stadium, Friday, May 18, 2012. The State file photo

One of the most beloved pitchers in South Carolina history appears to be calling it a career.

Michael Roth announced Thursday he is walking away from the game of baseball. He posted the news on Twitter but stopped short of using the word “retire” or “retirement.”

“I thought I would be more prepared for this day,” he said in a statement. “I always knew it would come as it comes for every player. I have decided to step away from baseball.”

Roth played professionally for six seasons for seven different teams. He played at Triple-A Iowa and Round Rock last season. He was released by the Texas Rangers on Aug. 14.

Roth, a ninth round pick by the Angels in 2012, made it to the majors on three different occasions, two with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013-14) and one with the Texas Rangers (2016). He was 2-1 in 23 appearances for his career.

“I’ve never really liked the word retire,” Roth told The State via text message, ”not in baseball or in life. Most people view retiring as not working and I will definitely be doing that! I view it more as a career change. In the context you are asking I don’t believe I’ll pull an MJ but I also didn’t think I would be a pitcher at Carolina, so who knows what life brings.”

Roth already is set up for his next chapter of of his career and working in commercial real estate for NAI Earle Furman in Greenville. He did an internship with the company in 2016 and worked there part-time during the offseason.

Roth was best known for his role in helping the Gamecocks to three consecutive College World Series finals, winning in 2010 and 2011. He started the decisive games in those two seasons.

Against UCLA in 2010, Roth pitched six innings and allowed just one run but didn’t get the decision in the 2-1 win. That was only his second start of the season that year. In his first one, he pitched a complete game and limited Clemson to just one run on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 5-1 victory at College World Series.

In 2011, he pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on five hits in the 5-2 win over Florida.

“Baseball was my first love but the last several months have been tough,” he announced Thursday. “It was getting harder to go to the field every day, forcing myself through the workouts and the preparation needed to be successful. Ultimately, I’m burnt out. My head is no longer ‘in it’ and it’s showed through my play and what kind of teammate I’ve been. I’ve always said that when baseball stopped being fun, I would stop playing. Well, here we are...”

Primarily a reliever his first two years at USC, he started 40 games his last two and went 26-6 with a 1.91 ERA. He struck out 205 in 282 innings.

The Founders Park home dugout was named in honor of Roth prior to the 2014 season.

“Currently, it is hard for me to appreciate my career but like all things, time will allow me to look back with extremely fond memories,” he said in his statement. “I’m excited for the next stage of life, to be around family more and pursue things that have taken the back burner for many years.”

Ray Tanner, Roth’s head coach at USC, reached out to him via Twitter.

“Congratulations on your path of success, and now you are just taking the fork in the road. I was honored to be a part of your journey!” Tanner said.

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