June 16, 2002
By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. – Yaron Peters extended his arms and South Carolina’s season with one big swing.
Peters hit a tiebreaking two-run homer as the Gamecocks eliminated Nebraska from the College World Series with a 10-8 win Sunday.
“All day long I didn’t get much to hit. I didn’t get a chance to get extended on anything,” said Peters, who drove a two-strike pitch from Jeremy Becker out to right-center. “My eyes just blew up when I saw something over the middle of the plate. If I was going to go, I was going to go hacking.”
Yaron Peters rounds the bases after hitting a tie-breaking two-run home run in the ninth.
The Gamecocks (54-17) rallied from a 4-0 deficit for its first CWS win in three appearances. South Carolina, which had just six hits while being shut out by Georgia Tech in the opening round, had 15 hits off six Nebraska pitchers.
“We certainly wanted to come out and have a character performance today, and we certainly did. Being down 4-0 it didn’t look too good,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “Today it was a heavyweight fight and we were fortunate to come out on top.”
John Wesley (2-0) got the win when Brandon Eymann flew out to the warning track in right. Wesley, South Carolina’s fifth pitcher, pitched 3 2-3 innings and held the Huskers to one run on two hits.
Nebraska (47-21) went 0-2 in the CWS for the second straight year despite scoring 18 runs in two games. The Huskers left nine runners on base and struggled out of the bullpen for the second time in three days.
“We’ve been telling our kids since we got here that we need to punch in runs here and there,” Nebraska coach Dave Van Horn said. “We left a lot of runners on today.”
“My eyes just blew up when I saw something over the middle of the plate.”
The teams combined for 26 hits and used 11 pitchers in the game, which lasted nearly four hours and went back-and-forth until the final inning.
Daniel Bruce, Jeff Blevins and Jed Morris each homered for Nebraska, which tied it in the bottom of the eighth and had two outs and two strikes on Peters in the ninth, but could not hold back the Gamecocks slugger.
Becker (2-2) walked Drew Meyer with one out in the ninth and struck out Justin Harris before Peters hit his 29th homer of the season.
The shot to right-center stunned the Omaha crowd, which had come back to life after Morris’ homer into the top half of the right-field bleachers tied it at 8-all in the eighth.
“I finally got something to hit,” Peters said. “He made a mistake and I took advantage of it.”
Justin Harris (5) beats the throw to first base in the first inning.
Nebraska used seven pitchers Friday in an 11-10 loss to Clemson. The Huskers led 7-2 at one point but couldn’t hang on to the lead. It was a similar scenario Sunday.
“We faced a couple of pretty good offensive teams and we hung in there with them pretty good. We just didn’t stop anybody,” Van Horn said. “The bullpen is something we’ve battled with all year and it showed up again today.”
Harris gave South Carolina a brief lead in the eighth when he scored on an error, then Morris tied it in the bottom of the inning with his 23rd homer.
The Gamecocks trailed 4-0 until the fourth when they scored five runs on six straight hits and an error. Landon Powell, who drove in the third run with a single, scored the go-ahead run when shortstop Joe Simokaitis bobbled a grounder from Peters with two outs.
Simokaitis atoned for the mistake in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double that started a three-run rally that put Nebraska up 7-5, but South Carolina tied it in the sixth at 7-all on Steve Thomas’ bases-loaded single.
Bruce hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Blevins followed two batters later with a solo shot that put Nebraska up 4-0.
“We overachieved as a team and blew away the expectations of a lot of people,” Blevins said. “It could have ended a lot worse than this.”