May 24, 2002
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sophomore LHP David Marchbanks went seven and two third innings allowing just two runs on nine hits and Gary Bell and Landon Powell each had three hits with an RBI and run scored, as second ranked South Carolina defeated Arkansas 6-2 in an elimination game at the SEC Baseball Tournament. Now 46-13 on the season, South Carolina will face LSU at 2:30 p.m. ET. South Carolina will need two victories vs. the Tigers to advance to the championship game of the SEC Baseball Tournament on Sunday. A Gamecock win vs. LSU would put USC and the Tigers in an elimination game on Saturday at either 6 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. ET. depending on the result of the Alabama/Florida game.
Marchbanks earned the win for the Gamecocks, improving his record to 9-3 on the year while Jarrett Gardner took the loss for the Razorbacks dropping his record to 3-3 on the year. Senior RHP Blake Taylor pitched one and one third innings of relief to earn his nation-best 18th save of the season. Gardner went four innings for Arkansas allowing four runs on six hits. Two of the four runs allowed by Gardner were unearned.
Following a scoreless first inning, Carolina opened up the scoring with two runs in the top of the second. Gary Bell doubled to left field and scored on a two-out RBI double to left field by Kevin Melillo. With Melillo on second base, Landon Powell singled to second base, with Razorback second baseman Scott Bridges’ throw going into the first base dugout, allowing Melillo to score and give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
Melillo and Powell continued their success against Gardner in the fourth inning to give USC a 3-0 lead. After a one-out walk to Melillo, Powell executed the hit and run with a double to right field that scored Melillo. Carolina increased its lead to 4-0 as Landon Powell scored from second to home on a two-base error by Razorback catcher Cody Clark. As Powell went for third, Clark mishandled the ball allowing it to go into the Gamecock dugout at third base, giving Powell home.
Arkansas scored its first run in the bottom half of the fourth as Nick Pitts tripled to right center and scored on a RBI single by Clark. Carolina increased its lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning as a two-out RBI single from Gary Bell scored Drew Meyer, giving the Gamecocks a four-run lead.
Drew Meyer’s bunt single in the seventh inning was his 100th hit of the season, becoming only the fourth player in South Carolina history to have at least 100 hits in a season. Meyer’s hit now ties him for second in the Carolina record books for hits by a South Carolina player in a season. The record is 104 hits set in 1998 by Mike Curry. Adam Everett had 100 hits for USC in 1998 and Jeff Barns also reached the century mark in 1985.
The Razorbacks cut the Gamecock lead to three runs in the eighth inning as Cliff Crouse knocked a solo home run to left center. Carolina came right back in the top of the ninth as Steve Thomas singled home Meyer, putting USC on top by four runs, 6-2.
Brian Buscher extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a single in the third inning and Landon Powell broke a 0-for-8 slump at the SEC Tournament, batting 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored.