Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

May 30, 2009

Box Score | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

Greenville, N.C. – Justin Dalles and Adam Matthews each homered twice including a grand slam home run from Dalles and starting pitcher Blake Cooper hurled his third complete game of the season as South Carolina defeated East Carolina 12-2 on Saturday evening at the Greenville Regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium. South Carolina improves to 40-21 on the year, the team’s 10th straight season with 40-plus victories under head coach Ray Tanner. East Carolina falls to 43-18 for the year. South Carolina will return to action on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. and will face the winner of tomorrow afternoon’s elimination game between East Carolina-Binghamton. Live audio broadcast is available at and on the Gamecock Radio Network.

Cooper has been stellar in the month of May as he picked up his fourth win in five starts for the month. He allowed two runs on 14 hits with six strikeouts and two walks. With the victory he is now 9-4 on the year. East Carolina starter Seth Maness took the loss and is now 9-2 for the season. Maness allowed six runs on 11 hits in 6.2 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.

“We are very fortunate to be able to win tonight,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “East Carolina has a very potent offense and they had runners everywhere early in the game. I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a situation so many that times that early in the game where we were able to get off the hook. You’ve got to give Blake (Cooper) a tremendous amount of credit for pitching out of some pickles. He’s a cagey veteran and its hart to get off the hook like he did. We are very fortunate. We had some big hits and we played a very nice game against them.”

South Carolina busted out to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings. Whit Merrifield opened the game with a base hit and after stealing second base would score after consecutive ground outs by DeAngelo Mack and Jackie Bradley, Jr. to second base. Bradley’s ground out was Carolina’s first RBI of the game. That lead increased to 2-0 in the top of the second inning as Matthews delivered with a solo home run. Matthews drilled the first pitch he saw from ECU starter Seth Maness over the left centerfield wall to give the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.

Cooper then kept East Carolina at bay as he worked through several chances for the Pirates without allowing an ECU runner to score. The bases were loaded in the third when Cooper rolled Dustin Harrington into a double play to end the frame and they were full in the fourth and fifth with two outs but he was able to stop the momentum with fly ball outs against Stephen Batts and Jared Avchen to right fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr.

The Gamecocks scratched three more across in the top of the sixth to increase the advantage to 5-0. Bradley would start the frame with a base hit to right field. With one out and a 3-1 count to Justin Dalles, the game took a turn as the Gamecock catcher looked to signal for time against Maness. He did not get the time and stepped back into the batter box and grooved Maness’ pitch for a two-run homer to left center. The home run was Dalles’ 13th of the season. Carolina added a single run following Dalles’ blast as Matthews doubled and scored on a two-out RBI base hit by Bobby Haney.

With a 5-0 lead, South Carolina broke open the game with a single run in the seventh followed by a six spot in the eighth inning. Dalles drove in five of the seven runs with a RBI single in the sixth followed up by a grand slam homer in the seventh inning. Matthews also homered for a second time in the seventh and DeAngelo Mack tallied a RBI double. East Carolina broke the shutout in the eighth inning on a pinch hit two-run homer to right field by Corey Thompson.

Dalles’ 4-for-5 game with seven RBI led the day at the plate for Carolina. Dalles’ seven RBI total is a season-high for a Gamecock player this year and the most since Justin Smoak tallied nine on April 15, 2008. He is now up to 14 home runs on the year as well. Matthews also was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. He is now up to five home runs for the season. The two-homer games by Dalles and Matthews is the first time a pair of Gamecocks have hit two or more homers in a game since May 10, 2006 when Andrew Crisp and Robbie Grinestaff tallied a pair of multi-homer games in a 15-6 win over Georgia in the NCAA Super Regional.

“This afternoon, the coaches and I met and we were trying to figure out who we were trying to match up with Maness as a DH,” said Tanner. “One scouting report told us to go with a right-handed hitter. Matthews can run. Adam is good and he can get around the bases a little so we decided to go with him and he had a big night for us.”

Eight of nine Gamecock starters had at least one hit with all nine starters reaching base. Mack, Bradley and Haney also had two hits apiece. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 12 games. South Carolina finished with a 17-14 hit advantage over East Carolina. Trent Whitehead, Devin Harris, Drew Schieber and Jared Avchen all had two hits apiece for the Pirates.

“We’re in the best position, but by no means are comfortable or relaxing,” said Tanner. “We are playing in Greenville, North Carolina. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us.”