June 3, 2005
Atlanta, Ga. – Steve Pearce slapped a no out bases loaded ninth inning single off the glove of Michigan shortstop Leif Mahler Friday to score Davy Gregg and South Carolina defeated Michigan 6-5 in the opening game of the NCAA Atlanta baseball regional.
The Gamecocks, 39-21, advanced to the winner’s bracket and will meet Georgia Tech at 4 p.m., Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium. South Carolina will start sophomore LHP Arik Hempy with Georgia Tech countering with sophomore RHP Blake Wood.
Michigan, 41-18, will meet Furman in an elimination contest at noon Saturday.
“I’m very happy to be on the winning side at the end because I thought it was a great college baseball game,” said USC head coach Ray Tanner. “Some great pitching out there, and we made some nice defensive plays, as they did. We were very fortunate to come out on top.”
Michigan scored an eighth inning run off South Carolina relief pitcher Brent Marsh to tie the score and set up the dramatic bottom of the ninth when the Gamecocks scored the winning run without hitting the baseball out of the infield.
Marsh was credited with the win, improving his record to 4-3. Wolverine relief pitcher Derek Feldcamp, 9-5, was charged with the loss.
Davy Gregg beat out a two strike bunt to open the bottom of the ninth. Michael Campbell laid down a sacrifice bunt and the Michigan infield attempted too late to get the force play at second base. No one was covering third base so Gregg stole third.
“It was a close play,” said Gregg. “It was kind of a pop-up bunt, so I had to hesitate at first and make sure it got down. I’d figure we would be sacrificing, but I got into second. Then Coach Toman was screaming his head off at third. I kind of glanced up and saw that no one was a third and no one was relatively close, so I took off.”
Steven Tolleson walked to load the bases. Michigan brought its infielders in and Pearce’s hard ground ball glanced off Mahler’s glove for the winning RBI.
“In the postseason you want your veteran players to step up and kick start the team a little bit,” said Tolleson.
South Carolina starting pitcher Aaron Rawl worked 7 2/3 innings and left with a 5-4 lead and the tying run at third. Rawl was bidding for his 35th career win which would have tied him for second on South Carolina’s all time list. Marsh got the third out in that inning but gave up the tying run on two hits in the top of the ninth. Mahler led off with a double, was sacrifice to third, and scored on a two out hit by Kyle Bohm.
South Carolina took a 2-0 first inning lead on a hit by Campbell, a sacrifice, the first of three hits by Pearce, an error, and Neil Giesler’s RBI ground out. Michigan countered with two runs in the second inning on a double by Matt Butler singles by Doug Pickens and Mahler and a sacrifice fly by Eric Rose. One of the two runs off Michigan starting pitcher Jim Brauer was earned.
The Wolverines would have scored more in the inning but South Carolina right fielder Brendan Winn fielded Chris Getz double off the fence, threw to cutoff man Chris Brown and his throw to the plate nailed Mahler attempting to score.
Bohm hit his fifth home run of the season in the third inning to give Michigan a 3-2 lead but South Carolina tied it in the bottom of the inning. Tolleson doubled moved to third on a single by Pearce and scored on a base hit by Neil Giesler that stretched his hitting streak to 12 games.
After Michigan moved ahead 4-3 in the top of the seventh on two hits, a sacrifice fly and an infield out, South Carolina scored twice in the bottom of the inning to lead 5-4. Pinch hitter Steven Reinhold was hit by a pitch. Gregg bunted him to second and Reinhold scored on a double by Campbell who scored on a hit by Tolleson.
Michigan had 2 hits to South Carolina’s 11 and the Wolverines committed the only error of the game as both teams turned in several outstanding defensive plays.
“I was really impressed with Michigan,” said Coach Tanner. “I thought Brauer had really good stuff. We got some good hacks off him early but he had really good stuff and settled in.”
Three hits by Pearce and two each by Campbell, Tolleson and Giesler led the South Carolina attack. Mahler had three hits for Michigan with Getz, Bohm and Butler each having two.