"We've got a pretty good team," coach Ray Tanner said, "but we're not the '27 Yankees. We've had 28 one-run games. We know that every at-bat is crucial for us."
The Gamecocks had to replace five regulars from the team that beat Florida in the 2011 finals, and they lost five of their first six Southeastern Conference games.
At the CWS, their streak of 22 straight wins in NCAA tournament games ended with a loss to Arkansas. They staved off elimination three times, beating Kent State and the Razorbacks twice in a span of 36 hours.
Arkansas reliever Barrett Astin walked Adam Matthews with the bases loaded in the seventh inning on Friday, producing South Carolina's go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory.
Tyler Webb and Matt Price combined for seven innings of shutout relief for the Gamecocks. Price (5-4) pitched three innings to earn his record fifth career win in the CWS.
The last program to show such dominance was Southern California, which won five straight from 1970 to '74.
"You really can't allow yourself to go there," Tanner said. "You just try to play the next game."
Arizona (46-17) will be playing for its fourth national title, but first since 1986.