GAMECOCKS EARN 9-3 WIN OVER FLORIDA IN SERIES OPENER
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sixth
ranked South Carolina scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth
innings on the way to a 9-3 victory over Florida on Thursday night in
the series opener at Carolina Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of
8,242 fans. Carolina improves to 17-5 and 1-3 in the SEC while
Florida drops to 20-2 and 3-1 in league play. Game two of the
series is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on
CSS and on Time Warner Cable channel 506 in Columbia. It can also
be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College.
pitching matchup between South Carolina starter Michael Roth and
Florida starter Hudson Randall was as good as advertised. Roth
went 6.2 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with
five strikeouts and three walks. Randall worked 5.2 innings and
allowed two runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
the score deadlocked at 2-2 it was left to the bullpens to decide the
fate of the game. Junior right-hander Matt Price made his first
relief appearance of the season and shut down the Gator offense in the
seventh inning that set the stage for the Gamecock offense in the
Evan Marzilli led off the Carolina seventh with his
third single of the night, forcing Florida to call the designated
hitter, Austin Maddox from the bullpen to face Joey Pankake. The
shortstop would lay down a sacrifice bunt to move Marzilli into scoring
position. Christian Walker stepped to the plate and quickly went down
0-2 in the count, but for the second time on the evening, he came back
to earn a walk. LB Dantzler would earn the same fate, as he walked on
five pitches to load the bases for pinch hitter Kyle Martin. The
freshman came through for Carolina, roping a two-run single down the
right field line to put the Gamecocks up 4-2. South Carolina was not
done yet though, as second baseman Erik Payne came to the plate with
two outs and runners on the corners. The sophomore ripped a line drive
to the right-center wall, clearing the bases and putting Carolina up
6-2 heading into the eighth inning.
Price quelled any answer
from Florida in their half of the eighth posting a pair of strikeouts
to get the Gators to go quietly. Adam Matthews led off the Gamecocks’
half with his third hit of the night, and Marzilli would follow with a
sacrifice bunt that moved Matthews to third because of an error on the
throw. However, Marzilli would be thrown out at second on the play.
Pankake and Walker followed with walks to load the bases again for the
Gamecocks with one out. That brought in freshman left hander Corey
Stump to face Dantzler.
Stump’s 2-0 pitch to Dantzler went to
the backstop and all the runners advanced, including a scoring
Matthews. Dantzler took two more balls and loaded the bases back up for
substitute catcher Dante Rosenberg. The junior sent a high chopper to
first for an RBI ground out and the Gamecocks lead was stretched to
8-2. Brison Celek then came in to pinch hit and the sophomore cracked
an RBI single through the left side. Dantzler would be thrown out at
the plate on the play to end the eighth for the Garnet and Black,
leading 9-2. Florida would score an unearned run in the top half
of the ninth but that would be it as Price recorded the final out to
seal the Gamecock victory.
Price earned the win with 2.1 innings
allowing one run, unearned, on no hits with three walks and three
strikeouts. He is 3-1 on the year. Florida reliever Steven
Rodriguez suffered the loss and is 3-1 for the season. He allowed
one run on one hit in 0.1 innings with a strikeout.
12-hit day included a 3-for-4 game from Evan Marzilli as well as Adam
Matthews. Tanner English also was 2-for-4. Martin, Matthews
and Erik Payne each drove in two runs. Daniel Pigott led Florida
with a 2-for-4 day at the plate.
Florida would draw first blood
in the third inning as Casey Turgeon would lead off by getting on with
by a Gamecock error. With two outs, Turgeon had been moved to
third after a Daniel Pigott single. Gator right fielder Preston Tucker
stepped to the plate and delivered a single to right to open the
scoring. Roth would retire Zunino to end the inning, but the Gators
took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the third.
would break through in the fourth on a two-out, two-run home run by
Matthews. After Randall sat down the first two Gamecock batters via
strikeout, freshman left fielder Tanner English poked a single into
left center to set the table for Matthews. The Lexington, S.C. native
sent a 0-1 pitch soaring into the Gator bullpen, and Carolina took a
2-1 lead into the fifth.
After both teams went down in order in
the fifth, Florida would tie the game up at two with an RBI single from
designated hitter Austin Maddox. Pigott led off the inning with a
single and was advanced to second after a two out walk to Taylor
Gushue. Maddox would deliver the RBI single into center to knot the
game at 2.