June 3, 2012
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Columbia, SC –
The #2 South Carolina Gamecocks scored three runs in the first inning and withstood a Clemson rally in the ninth inning to edge the Tigers 4-3 and capture the Columbia Regional title in front of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium on Sunday. The Gamecocks, who won the regional with a 3-0 record, improved to 43-17 on the season. The Tigers, who went 2-2 in the regional, ended the season with a 35-28 record.
The Gamecocks scored three runs in the first inning, including two after a crucial throwing error with two outs. After scoring a run in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-0 lead, the Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, highlighted by Thomas Brittle’s run-scoring double. Spencer Kieboom hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth inning, but Brad Felder flied out to deep right-center to end the game.
Starter Jordan Montgomery (5-1) pitched 6.2 innings to earn the win. He gave up five hits, two runs, and one walk with six strikeouts. Tyler Webb yielded two hits, one run, and no walks with four strikeouts to record his third save of the season. Montgomery and Webb combined to retire all nine of Clemson’s leadoff batters in the game.
David Haselden (4-2) allowed three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings pitched and suffered the loss. Jonathan Meyer pitched the final 8.1 innings, allowing seven hits, one run, and two walks with four strikeouts. It was Meyer’s longest career outing and it was the longest outing by a Tiger in 2012.
The Gamecocks grabbed the game’s first lead in the first inning. Joey Pankake led off with a triple to left-center and scored on a close play at the plate on Evan Marzilli’s sacrifice fly down the left-field line. Christian Walker followed with a walk, then LB Dantzler hit a grounder to Jon McGibbon. The first-baseman stepped on the bag and threw to second in what would have been an inning-ending double play, but the throw hit Walker and he advanced to third. Adam Matthews laced a two-out single to left field to score Walker, then Connor Bright hit a double off the wall down the left-field line to score Matthews.
In the second inning, Jay Baum drew a one-out walk and McGibbon grounded a double down the left-field line to advance Baum to third base. But Kieboom popped up in the infield and Felder struck out looking on a pitch that just caught the outside corner to end the inning.
The Gamecocks added to their lead in the top of the sixth inning. Tanner English bounced a one-out double over third-baseman Richie Shaffer’s head and moved to third on the play on an error. Chase Vergason followed with a line-drive single to right field to score English.
Clemson cut South Carolina’s lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning. Steve Wilkerson blooped a one-out single to left field and scored on Brittle’s double down the right-field line. Shaffer reached on a bad-hop single that moved Brittle to third base, then Phil Pohl grounded out to third to plate Brittle.
In the ninth inning, Pohl struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch, then Baum laced a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single. McGibbon struck out for out #2, then Baum took second base without a throw. Kieboom grounded a single through the right side to score Baum and cut South Carolina’s lead to one run. Felder then hit a ball to deep right-center, but Matthews, who was the Columbia Regional MVP, made the game-ending catch near the warning track.
Dantzler, English, and Vergason all had two hits apiece to pace the Gamecocks, who totaled 10 hits in the contest.
Seven different Tigers accounted for the team’s seven hits. Brittle and McGibbon hit one double apiece as well.
Three Tigers made the Columbia Regional All-Tournament team, Felder (OF), Kieboom (C), and Pohl (DH/UT).
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