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March 3, 2009

Box Score

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Columbia, S.C. – Blake Cooper and Adam Westmoreland combined for a five-hit shutout and Whit Merrifield hit a two-run homer in the first inning to lift 18th ranked South Carolina to a 2-0 victory over Georgia State on Tuesday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. Carolina improves to 5-0 on the year while the loss drops Georgia State to 6-2 for the season. The shutout was Carolina’s third of the season in five games. South Carolina returns to action on Wednesday night with first pitch vs. Charleston Southern scheduled for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. Live video broadcast is available at

The Gamecock pitching staff received effective outings from both Cooper and Westmoreland. Cooper worked the first three innings and limited the Panthers to just one hit and one walk while striking out five batters. That paved the way for Westmoreland, who worked the final six innings and kept Georgia State at bay with just four hits yielded and only two walks allowed. Westmoreland finished with eight strikeouts as well. He is now 1-0 on the year. The combined 13 strikeouts was a single-game high for the Gamecock pitching staff. Georgia State pitcher Will Palmer suffered the loss and is 1-2 for the season. He lasted five innings and allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

The Gamecocks got all the runs it needed in the bottom of the first inning. Jackie Bradley, Jr. led off with an infield single that set the table for Merrifield, who launched a 1-0 pitch from Palmer for a home run to left center. For Merrifield, it was his first homer of the year and fourth career round tripper. His last one came at Vanderbilt on March 15, 2008.

Carolina then settled in but not without a tense moment as Georgia State put a pair of runners on base in the top of the ninth inning with one out. Westmoreland however got himself out of the jam as he induced Theo Asher into a 1-4-3 double play to end the game and preserve a Gamecock victory.

Georgia State finished with a 5-4 hit advantage in the game. Matt Van Horn led the way with two hits. Carolina had four different players record a hit including first baseman Jeffery Jones, who has hit safely in all five games this year for the Gamecocks.