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April 21, 2002

Box Score

COLUMBIA, SC – A bases clearing seventh inning double by Steve Thomas proved to be the difference Sunday as South Carolina survived furious Louisiana State rallies in the eighth and ninth innings to edge the Tigers 4-3 and win a Southeastern Conference baseball series two games to one.

The seventh ranked Gamecocks improved to 31-9 overall and 11-6 in the conference while LSU dropped to 26-15, 9-8. South Carolina clung to a half game lead over Georgia and Florida in the SEC Eastern Division race. Georgia defeated Kentucky 7-6 and Florida downed Vanderbilt 7-3 Sunday to sweep those two series. South Carolina won its first season series from Louisiana State since the Gamecocks joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992.

Gary Bell, 7-2, took a 4-0 shutout into the eighth inning before a walk and a one out double by Rocky Scelfo scored the first LSU run. Blake Taylor relieved Bell and earned his 11th save, third of the week, despite being reached for four LSU hits in 1 2/3 innings. Bo Pettit, 5-6, took the loss.

Garris Gonce was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a base hit by Kevin Melillo in the fourth inning as South Carolina took a 1-0 lead. A base on balls and singles by Melillo and Drew Meyer loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning. Thomas doubled to left center to drive in three runs and stretch the Gamecock lead to 4-0.

South Carolina reloaded the bases on two walks by LSU relief pitcher Jake Tompkins but he struck out Justin Harris and Landon Powell to prevent the Gamecocks from adding to the lead.

Bell walked Chris Phillips to open the LSU eighth inning. Phillips moved to second on a wild pitch and remained there as Jon Zeringue grounded out. Scelfo doubled to score Phillips and Taylor relieved Bell. Aaron Hill and Wally Pontiff singled on the first two pitches by Taylor to cut the lead to 4-2. Sean Barker popped up for the second out and Pontiff was out attempting to steal second base to end the inning.

Pinch hitter J. C. Holt homered over the left field fence leading off the LSU ninth inning, his second of the season, to cut the Gamecock lead to 4-3. Phillips singled with two outs but Taylor struck out David Raymer to end the game.

LSU out hit South Carolina 9-7 with five of the Tiger hits coming in the final two innings. Scelfo, Hill and Pontiff, the first three in the Tiger batting order, had two hits apiece. Melillo was the only Gamecock with two hits.

LOUISIANA STATE 000 000 021 – 3-9-1
SOUTH CAROLINA 000 100 30x – 4-7-1
Pettit, Tompkins (7) and Phillips. Bell, Taylor (8) and Powell. W-Bell (7-2). L-Pettit (5-6). Save-Taylot (11). 2B-LSU, Scelfo, USC, Thomas. HR-LSU, Holt (2).