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May 25, 2007

Box Score

Hoover, Ala. – Sophomore RHP Mike Cisco went seven innings and struck out eight batters while allowing just two runs and Travis Jones and Harley Lail each drove in two runs as South Carolina held on to defeat Florida 5-3 at the SEC Tournament in an elimination game on Friday afternoon at Regions Park. Carolina improves to 42-17 while Florida drops to 29-30 on the year. The Gamecocks will meet Arkansas at 11 am ET on Saturday morning in a game televised live on FSN South. If Carolina wins the match-up, both teams will face off one more time at 6 pm ET to determine who will advance to the championship game.

For the third consecutive start, Cisco worked at least seven innings as he limited the Gators to two runs on four hits while walking just one batter. After the first inning, he allowed just one hit in the final six innings he hurled. The win improves Cisco’s record to 6-2 on the year. Carolina reliever Jeff Jeffords pitched the final two innings and allowed just one run on one hit with four walks to pick up a save, his fourth of the season. Florida starting pitcher Patrick Keating suffered the loss and is 3-2 for the year. Keating went 5.1 innings and allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

The Gators broke out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run homer by Matt LaPorta. Florida started the game with a single from Cole Figueroa, who stole second base and was sacrificed to third by Avery Barnes. On Cisco’s 2-2 pitch, LaPorta launched his 20th homer of the year to left center to give Florida a two-run cushion.

South Carolina came back with three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. Carolina loaded the bases as Phil Disher hit a leadoff single followed by a walk to Trent Kline and a bunt base hit from Andrew Crisp. The Gamecocks would score the first run on a RBI single from Harley Lail and two more on Travis Jones’ two-out RBI single.

Carolina knocked Keating out of the game in the sixth inning taking advantage of two Florida errors to score a pair of unearned runs and gain a 5-2 edge. Crisp reached base with one out on a throwing error by shortstop Cole Figueroa, advancing all the way to second as the throw went past LaPorta at first base. Lail then came through with his second RBI base hit of the game as he singled up the middle to score Crisp. On the play, Lail reached second base on a fielding error by center fielder Matt den Dekker. The Gamecocks ended up loading the bases with two outs on walks to pinch hitter Robbie Grinestaff and Jones that set the stage for James Darnell, who also walked to score Lail and increase the lead to three runs.

Florida rallied late in the ninth inning to cut the deficit to two runs. Pinch hitters Bryson Barter and Cody Neer each drew two-out walks followed by a RBI single from Figueroa that saw the Gators put runners on second and third base on a throwing error by Lail in right field. Jeffords worked out of the jam though as Barnes grounded out to third base to preserve the Gamecock victory.

Disher had three hits with Jones and Lail adding two apiece to lead Carolina at the plate. Figueroa had three hits to lead the Gators. South Carolina finished with a 9-5 hit advantage. The Gamecocks are now 35-1 when out-hitting the opponent.

South Carolina will start freshman RHP Blake Cooper (7-1, 4.50 ERA) while the Razorbacks will send junior RHP Duke Welker (5-5, 4.04 ERA) to the hill.