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May 13, 2007

Box Score

Knoxville, Tenn. – South Carolina pounded out 15 hits including three home runs and Phil Disher drove in a career-high five RBI as the Gamecocks defeated Tennessee 13-7 to win a three-game SEC baseball series. The Gamecocks improve to 38-15 and 15-12 in the conference while the loss drops the Volunteers to 30-22 and 11-14 in the SEC. Carolina closes out the regular season beginning Thursday night with a three-game series vs. Georgia. Thursday and Friday night first pitches are set for 7 pm with the season finale set for 4 pm on Saturday and broadcast live on SEC-TV.

Carolina has been nearly unstoppable on Sundays in the SEC with an 8-1 record in conference play with an average of 10.8 runs in those nine contests. Disher was 2-for-5 with a homer, double and five RBI to lead the way at the plate with Andrew Crisp tallying four hits and scoring a pair of runs. Reese Havens, James Darnell and Justin Smoak also each had two hits. Crisp, Darnell and Disher finished with home runs. The Gamecocks now have 31 home runs in the last 13 games played with at least one in each game.

Carolina starting pitcher Blake Cooper earned the win and recovered from a rough first inning to work six innings and allowed six runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and three walks. He is now 7-1 on the year for Carolina. Junior reliever Curtis Johnson worked the final two innings to earn his second save of the year as he held the Volunteers without a runs and just two hits. Tennessee starting pitcher Craig Cobb went 3.1 innings and allowed six runs on six hits with three strikeouts and four walks to suffer the loss. He is now 7-5 on the year.

For the second straight day, Tennessee opened up a 3-0 lead in the first inning against the Gamecocks. Andy Simunic reached base to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a throwing error by first baseman Justin Smoak. The Volunteers would score the first run then on a RBI single from Julio Borbon. J.P. Arencibia would connect for the third straight hit off Cooper with a single to center field that saw Borbon advance to third base on fielding error by Reinhold in center field. After a walk to Yan Gomes, the Volunteers would score their second run on a RBI groundout to second base by Jeff Lockwood. Tennessee’s third run came on a two-out RBI single from Cody Brown.

South Carolina bounced back though in the top of the second inning to score five runs against Cobb, four coming with two outs. Cobb had control problems early in the inning as he issued a one-out walk to Harley Lail followed up by a hit by pitch to Reinhold. Havens would put the Gamecocks on the scoreboard with a RBI single to right field scoring Lail. With runners on the corners and two outs, Darnell connected for an RBI base hit to score Lail. Carolina would then load the bases on Smoak’s infield single that would set the stage for designated hitter Phil Disher. On Cobb’s first pitch, Disher launched a towering fly ball that went off the wall in right center to score all three runners and give the Gamecocks a 5-3 lead.

James Darnell extended the Carolina lead to 6-3 in the fourth inning and knocked Cobb from the contest with a solo home run to left center. It marked Darnell’s 17th of the year tying him with Justin Smoak for the squad lead and the 13th straight game that the Gamecocks have homered in. Tennessee got the run back in the bottom half as Andy Simunic doubled and scored on Borbon’s second RBI single of the game. Cooper worked himself out of a first and third jam with one out though as he got Jeff Lockwood to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to limit the Volunteers to just a single run.

Carolina tallied its second home run of the game in the fifth inning as Andrew Crisp hit his sixth of the year, a solo shot to right field go give Carolina a 7-4 edge. Tennessee crept to within one run in the bottom half of the fifth though as pinch hitter Shawn Griffin launched a two-run homer to right field.

With a one-run cushion, the Gamecocks plated three more across in the top of the seventh inning to take a 10-6 lead. Reinhold knocked a RBI double and Havens collected a two-run single for Carolina. Tony Delmonico put the Volunteers back to within three runs in the seventh inning with a solo home run off reliever Wynn Pelzer. Tennessee gave one back in the eighth inning though as Carolina scored an unearned run against the Volunteers on a fielding error by third baseman Cody Brown on a hard hit ball by Reinhold, allowing Crisp to score from second base. Carolina scored the final two runs of the game in the ninth inning on Disher’s two-run homer to right field, his 12th of the season.

Tennessee also tallied 15 hits in the contest with Brown, Delmonico and Simunic all with three hits apiece. Arencibia and Borbon also put together two hits each for the Volunteers.

The series victory at Tennessee marked the first time Carolina has won a series in Knoxville since the Gamecocks won two of three in 1999.