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May 16, 2004

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina scored a dozen runs in the middle three innings Sunday , including three run home runs by Michael Campbell and Landon Powell, to defeat Tennessee 12-8 and sweep a three game Southeastern Conference baseball series before 4,250 fans at Sarge Frye Field.

Junior right-hander Zac McCamie, who relieved starter Arik Hempy when Tennessee scored four times in the fifth inning, was the winning pitcher to improve his record to 5-0. Freshman right-hander Sean Watson, the Tennessee starter, took the loss to drop his record to 4-5. Seventh ranked South Carolina improved to 39-13 overall, 16-11 in the SEC. Tennessee dropped to 34-19, 12-15.

The three game sweep was the first for South Carolina in nine conference series this season. The Gamecocks have won five SEC series two games to one and have lost three by the same margin.

Hempy and Watson matched scoreless innings until the bottom of the fourth when South Carolina scored five times on only two hits. Three walks and Michael Campbell’s 14th home run of the season were the highlights of the uprising. A bases loaded walk to Steve Pearce drove in one run and a sacrifice fly by Bryan Triplett scored the other.

Tennessee erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth inning, knocking Hempy out of the game. The Vols had six hits in the inning, including a two run home run by Brian Cleveland, his sixth of the season. Alex Suarez drove in the other two runs in the inning with his second base hit of the game.

South Carolina got those four runs back in the bottom of the fifth to lead 9-4 and drove Watson to the showers. There were five Gamecock hits in the inning including back to back doubles by Brendan Winn and Pearce. Winn drove in one and Pearce two and the other RBI in the inning was by Kevin Melillo who had three hits on the day.

South Carolina expanded its lead to 12-4 with its final three runs in the bottom of the sixth. After a walk to Steven Tolleson and a hit by Melillo, Powell hit a towering drive over the 95 foot high light pole in right field for his 15th home run.

In the top of the eighth inning Michael Rivera singled with two outs and Cleveland and Eric King followed with infield singles to load the bases. Eli Iorg cleared them with a grand slam home run, his fourth hit of the game. The four run homer cut the South Carolina lead to 12-8.

Chad Blackwell pitched the ninth inning for South Carolina and struck out the three batters that he faced to end the game.

The win climaxed a 5-0 week for the Gamecocks and, counting wins in the final two games at Auburn last weekend, stretched the current South Carolina winning streak to seven games.

Melillo was the only Gamecock with three hits in a 13 hit attack. Powell, Pearce and Campbell had two hits apiece. Winn, Pearce, Campbell and Davy Gregg had doubles.

Tennessee, led by a four for five game by Iorg, had 14 hits. Cleveland had three. Suarez and Rivera had two. Josh Alley and Cleveland had doubles.

South Carolina ends its home season with a Wednesday night non-conference game against Wofford at Sarge Frye Field and travels to Athens to meet Georgia in a three game SEC series that winds up the regular season next weekend. The SEC post-season tournament begins May 26 at Hoover, Ala.

Going into the final week of action in the SEC, six different teams have a shot at a SEC Title. Arkansas, Georgia and Ole Miss are in a three-way tie for first place with 17-10 conference records, with South Carolina, Florida and LSU just one game behind with identical 16-11 SEC records. Ole Miss hosts LSU, Florida travels to Tennessee and Arkansas hosts Auburn in other SEC action.