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May 15, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Right-hander Chris Hernandez took a no hit game into the ninth inning Wednesday night and South Carolina used four home runs to score 13 times in the first three innings and the fourth ranked Gamecocks coasted to a 14-0 win over Furman.

South Carolina improved its record to 41-12 while Furman dropped to 21-31. The Gamecocks end regular season play this weekend with a three game Southeastern Conference series at Georgia.

Hernandez, who came to South Carolina last fall from Riverside Junior College in California, made his first start as a Gamecock. He allowed only one base runner in the first eight innings, a two out second inning walk to Ryan Presnell.

Hernandez retired Danny Rueckel on a fly ball to lead off the ninth inning in his bid for South Carolina’s first no hitter since 1975. Pinch hitter Cole Hubka grounded a single across the pitcher’s mound into center field to spoil the no hit bid. Freshman Cliff Donald relieved Hernandez and gave up a hit to Clint Hill before retiring the side to preserve the shutout.

Hernandez, 1-0, threw 91 pitches, 60 of them strikes. He struck out four. Prior to his start he had appeared in nine games and had pitched nine innings with 10 strikeouts, 10 walks and 13 hits allowed.

South Carolina scored six first inning runs off Furman starter Calvin Hurst. Yaron Peters hit a two run homer, the first of two by him, and Landon Powell homered with the bases loaded, his eighth of the season.

Brian Buscher homered with two runners on base in the second inning, his 13th, and Peters homered again in the four run third inning. His 21 homers on the season lead the Southeastern Conference as do his 78 runs batted in. Hurst, 0-1, left after two innings trailing 9-0. Coogie Freedman allowed four runs in the third inning.

After scoring 13 times on 10 hits in the first three innings the Gamecocks managed only one more hit, a seventh inning double by Trey Dyson who scored the game’s final run on a wild pitch.

Drew Meyer, Peters, Buscher, Dyson and Powell had two hits each for South Carolina. The other Gamecock hit was by Justin Harris.

South Carolina center fielder Jon Coutlangus, who suffered a fractured index finger on his left hand in a game at Arkansas April 5, returned to the lineup as an eighth inning replacement.

FURMAN          000 000 000 - 0-2-2
SOUTH CAROLINA 634 000 10x - 14-11-0

Hurst, Freedman (3), Perry (6), Purvis (7), Rueckel (8) and Latora, Gerber (8). Hernandez, Donald (9) and Powell, Greenwood (8). W-Hernandez (1-0). L-Hurst (0-1). Save-None. 2B-USC, Dyson. HR-USC, Peters 2(21), Buscher 13, Powell (8).