April 25, 2003
Oxford, Miss. – Charlie Waite’s two-out RBI single in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie and freshman Stephen Head recorded his ninth save of the season as Ole Miss held on to defeat South Carolina 6-5 in the first of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series. Ole Miss improves to 26-17 on the year and 11-8 in the SEC while the loss drops Carolina to 27-16 and 9-10 in the SEC.
Freshman LHP Eric Fowler earned the win in relief of Rebel starter T.J. Beam. Fowler worked the seventh inning and is now 2-2 on the year. South Carolina starter Steven Bondurant took the loss for Carolina dropping his record to 4-3. Bondurant worked six innings and pitched to two batters in the seventh. Bondurant allowed five runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out one batter.
Carolina wasted no time getting on the scoreboard touching Beam for four runs in the first two innings. The Gamecocks used four consecutive singles to open up a 2-0 lead on Ole Miss in the top of the first inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Landon Powell singled to right field to score Justin Harris. Matt Riddle increased the Carolina lead with an RBI single also to right field to score Brian Buscher.
Carolina increased the lead to 4-0 with two more runs off Beam in the second inning. A leadoff triple by Michael Campbell set the table for Tim Seaton who knocked a double down the left field line to score Campbell. The double by Seaton was the senior’s first extra base hit of the season. Seaton would score on a RBI sacrifice fly from Powell.
The Rebels came back in the bottom half of the second with three runs off Bondurant to cut the deficit to one run. A RBI groundout by Justin Donovan and a two-run RBI single to center field by Seth Smith with two outs brought Ole Miss to within a run of the Gamecocks. Ole Miss tied the game at four in the bottom of the fourth on a bad-hop RBI single by Stephen Head that bounced over second baseman Kevin Melillo into center field.
Charlie Waite’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh put the Rebels up 5-4. A leadoff walk to Brian Pettway and a single by Stephen Head put two runners on base and knocked Bondurant out of the game. With Chris Hernandez in the game for Carolina, Chad Sterbens grounded into a 6-3 double play with pinch runner Shawn Yarbrough advancing to third. With a 3-2 count, Waite knocked a single up the middle to score Yarbrough and give the Rebels a one-run lead. A RBI sacrifice fly by Head in the eighth inning increased the Rebel lead to 6-4.
With the Gamecocks down two runs, Carolina looked to mount a comeback against Head and the Rebels. A walk to Bryan Triplett and infield singles by pinch hitters Steven Tolleson and Nick Gardiner loaded the bases with no outs for Carolina. Triplett would score as Tim Seaton grounded into a 4-6-3 double play moving Tolleson to third base with two outs. Head was able to close the game out getting Carolina pinch hitter Demetric Smith to fly out to right field. Despite the loss, South Carolina outhit the Rebels 16-12 on the night with freshman Michael Campbell tying a career-high for hits in a game with three. Harris, Buscher, Powell and Seaton each added two hits for the Gamecocks. All 12 hits by Ole Miss batters were singles in Friday’s contest.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. ET with junior LHP David Marchbanks getting the start for Carolina. Marchbanks is 9-2 on the year with a 2.22 ERA and leads the SEC in wins and innings pitched (81.0).