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April 11, 2009

Box Score

Oxford, Miss. – Whit Merrifield had a career day at the plate going 5-for-6 and Justin Dalles went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI as South Carolina defeated No. 14 Ole Miss 12-10 on Friday evening in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series at Swayze Field. The win improves Carolina to 22-11 on the year and 6-7 in the SEC while the loss drops Ole Miss to 24-9 and 8-5 in the conference. Game two of the series is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on Saturday with live audio broadcast available at and on the Gamecock Radio Network.

Carolina rocked Ole Miss starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz in the first two innings and jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Rebels. Pomeranz lasted only 1.2 innings and allowed nine runs, four earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk. He took the loss and is now 3-1 on the year. South Carolina starting pitcher Sam Dyson was effective in 5.2 innings as he allowed just seven runs, five earned, on eight hits with six strikeouts and four walks to pick up the victory. Dyson improves to 5-2 for the season.

The Gamecocks got to Pomeranz early with five runs in the top of the first inning. Merrifield led off the game with a base hit and advanced to second base as DeAngelo Mack reached base on a throwing error by Ole Miss shortstop Kevin Mort. Carolina then loaded the bases as Andrew Crisp laid down a sacrifice bunt with Merrifield beating a throw at third base as Ole Miss attempted to go for a force out. With the bases loaded, Pomeranz tried to work out of the jam as he got Nick Ebert to foul out and struck out Parker Bangs swinging to record two outs. Carolina however was just getting started as Jackie Bradley, Jr. came through in the clutch as he knocked a base hit into left field to score a pair of runs. Justin Dalles then gave Carolina a 5-0 lead as he launched a three-run homer into right center off a 1-2 pitch from Pomeranz. The home run for Dalles was his sixth of the season and his first since the first game of the doubleheader at Kentucky two weeks ago.

Ole Miss answered in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs against Dyson. A leadoff walk to Jordan Henry and a one-out walk to Matt Snyder gave the Rebels a pair of runners. Matt Smith and David Phillips each tallied RBIs with singles against Dyson.

South Carolina came back with the bats in the top of the second to score four more runs and knock Pomeranz from the game in the process. Bobby Haney had a leadoff single and Whit Merrifield doubled down the left field line for runners on second and third with no outs. Haney scored on DeAngelo Mack’s RBI sacrifice fly to left field and Merrifield scored on Crisp’s RBI double down the left field line. A RBI double by Parker Bangs to score Crisp ended the evening for Pomeranz. Crisp would eventually score as Dalles drove in his fourth run of the game on a RBI single off of reliever Rory McKean.

The Rebels responded again in the bottom half with a pair of unearned runs against Dyson. Henry reached base with two outs on a throwing error by Scott Wingo and scored on a two-run homer by Logan Power to left field. It was Power’s fifth home run of the season for the Rebels and cut Carolina’s lead to 9-4.

The Gamecocks tagged on a run in the fifth inning as Merrifield reached base on his fourth hit of the game with a leadoff triple down the right field line. He would score on Mack’s RBI groundout. Merrifield would give Carolina a 11-4 lead in the sixth inning with his fifth hit of the game, a two-out RBI single up the middle to score Scott Wingo.

Ole Miss struck for three runs in the bottom half of the six. Evan Button had a two-run homer in the inning and Jordan Henry reached base with a one-out double, stole third and scored on Matt Snyder’s sacrifice fly to right field. The Rebels cut to within three runs in the bottom of the seventh as Kyle Henson doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch moving Carolina’s lead to 11-8.

Carolina added a run in the top of the eighth as Parker Bangs walked to lead off the inning, was replaced by pinch runner Adam Matthews, who eventually made his way to third base before Bobby Haney drove him in on sacrifice fly to center field.

Ole Miss made things interesting in the ninth inning against Gamecock reliever Alex Farotto. The Rebels looked to mount a rally with two consecutive base hits by Zach Miller and pinch hitter Tim Ferguson and a one-out walk to Kevin Mort to load the bases. Jordan Henry drove in Miller with a RBI fielder’s choice and Logan Power singled in a run as the Rebels crept to within 12-10. With the potential winning run at the plate in designated hitter Matt Snyder, Farotto was able to get out of the jam as he struck out Snyder with a 1-2 pitch sealing a Gamecock victory.

South Carolina out-hit Ole Miss 15-12 in the contest. Merrifield’s five hits were a career-high and he is the first Gamecock player since James Darnell last season on March 18, 2008, to have five hits in a game. Dalles’ four RBI also were a career high. Designated hitter Parker Bangs went 3-for-6 at the plate with a RBI as well. Matt Smith’s three hits led the Rebels. Logan Power was 2-for-5 with three RBI with Zach Miller 2-for-4 with two runs scored as well.