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May 23, 2004

Box Score

Athens, Ga. – Landon Powell hit three solo home runs and Bryan Triplett also homered Sunday as South Carolina avoided a series sweep by Georgia with an 8-2 win that ended the Southeastern Conference regular season before 3,306 fans at Foley Field.

The Gamecocks, 41-15 and 17-13 in the conference, head to Hoover, Ala., for the SEC tournament scheduled to begin Wednesday. The Sunday win wrapped up the fifth seed and South Carolina will play its first tournament game at 5 p.m., CDT (6 p.m., Eastern Time) against either Mississippi or LSU depending upon results of later Sunday games.

Georgia finished 37-18 but claimed at least a share of the SEC overall championship with a 19-11 conference record.

Junior right-hander Billy Buckner, making his second start after missing five weeks with mononucleosis, Allowed six hits and both Georgia runs in six innings to earn the win. He walked one and struck out eight. Buckner improved his record to 5-2 in picking up his first win over a Southeastern Conference team in six starts. Georgia starter Paul Lubrano, 5-4, was charged with the loss.

Powell homered in the second, fourth and fifth innings as South Carolina scored twice in each of those innings. The Gamecocks added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. The three homer barrage increased Powell’s season home run total to 19, giving him the team lead over Brendan Winn who has 18. Powell also took over the runs batted in lead with 62 and the senior catcher now has 42 career homers. Powell also tied Mac White for the USC single game record for games played as a Gamecock with 236 on his career.

A switch hitter, Powell homered right-handed over the right centerfield fence and to left field against Lubrano, a left-hander, and to right center batting left-handed against right-handed reliever Bo Lanier. Powell was walked in his two other plate appearances, the second time an intentional walk, to record a perfect day at the plate.

Triplett, who broke out of a slump with three hits including a home run in the Saturday game, hit his seventh of the season off Lubrano two batters before the final Powell homer. The round tripper by Triplett sent Lubrano to the showers.

In the second inning, after the first Powell homer, Michael Campbell singled and moved to second when Georgia first baseman Josh Morris muffed a pickoff throw. Campbell moved to third on a single by Steve Pearce and scored when Kevin Melillo hit into a double play.

Powell homered, Campbell singled and scored on a two out double by Davy Gregg in the fourth inning. Hank Parks, who had singled, attempted to score from first base on the Gregg hit but was out at the plate.

The homers by Powell and Triplett in the fifth inning increased the lead to 6-0.

Georgia avoided a shutout by scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth when the Bulldogs bunched five of their eight hits. Jonathan Wyatt singled to drive in Bobby Felmy in the fifth, and Josh Morris drove in Justin Holmes in the sixth.

A single by Steven Tolleson, a triple by Winn, and a wild pitch accounted for the final two Ssouth Carolina runs in the eighth inning.

Chad Blackwell pitched the final three innings for South Carolina to record his 12th save. He allowed two hits but no runs and struck out one.

South Carolina had 12 hits, three each by Powell and Campbell. Marshall Szabo was the only Georgia player with multiple hits. He had two.