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March 31, 2006

Box Score

Baton Rouge, La. – Fifth ranked South Carolina (24-3, 6-1 SEC) pounded out 12 hits with home runs from Neil Giesler and Justin Smoak and a six-run sixth inning helped lift the Gamecocks to a 12-2 victory over 15th ranked LSU (20-8, 2-5 SEC) on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series.

Carolina pitchers Arik Hempy and Andrew Cruse combined to limit the Tigers to just six hits as USC pushed its winning streak to seven games. Hempy went 4.1 innings before leaving the game due to an injury. He struck out four and allowed just one run on three hits. Cruse pitched the final 4.2 innings to pick up the victory. He limited LSU to just one run on three hits with three strikeouts to improve to 3-0 on the year. LSU starter Daniel Forrer suffered the loss and is now 1-2 this season. Forrer hurled five innings and allowed six runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

Heads up base running by Michael Campbell gave Carolina a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Campbell, who reached on a double with one out, scored on a RBI groundout by Neil Giesler. After first baseman Jordan Mayer’s throw to pitcher Daniel Forrer accounted for the Giesler out, Campbell took advantage of the close play, rounded third base and headed home beating the throw and giving the Gamecocks a one-run cushion.

The Gamecocks would increase the lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Cheyne Hurst opened the frame with a single and scored on a two-run homer by Giesler, his third of the year. Giesler roped the 2-1 pitch from Forrer over the scoreboard in right field extending his hitting streak to 19 games. LSU would creep to within two runs in the fifth inning on a solo homer from Clay Harris. The homer for Harris was his third of the year.

Leading 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning, South Carolina would send 10 batters to the plate and score six runs off three LSU pitchers to go ahead 9-1 against the Tigers. Justin Smoak and Reese Havens would each walk to open the inning and advance a base on a wild pitch from LSU starting pitcher Daniel Forrer. Smoak and Havens would each score then on RBI singles by Ian Paxton and Mark Stanley. A one-out walk to Cheyne Hurst would then load the bases and set the stage for Michael Campbell. Campbell would walk to score Paxton and increase the Carolina advantage to 6-1. That lead would be pushed to 8-1 as Neil Giesler reached base on a fielding error by LSU second baseman scoring both Stanley and Hurst. The RBI for Giesler was his fourth of the game. The final run of the inning would come on a sacrifice fly RBI from Robbie Grinestaff.

A three-run homer from Smoak and a solo homer by Tiger second baseman J.T. Wise completed the scoring on the evening. Smoak, Havens, Hurst and Paxton each had two hits to lead the Gamecock offense. Matt Liuzza had two of the six LSU hits to lead the Tiger offense.

The three-game series continues on Saturday (April 1) with first pitch set for 4 pm ET. Tommy Moody and Tom Price call the action on the Gamecock Radio Network and on Freshman RHP Mike Cisco (3-0, 2.73 ERA) heads to the hill for Carolina with LSU sending junior LHP Clay Dirks (3-2, 3.20 ERA) to the mound. The first pitch was moved to 4 pm ET earlier in the week due to the LSU men’s basketball team competing in the NCAA Final Four.