April 11, 2010
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina pitchers Jay Brown, Michael Roth and Matt Price combined to face the minimum on Sunday afternoon and recorded a two-hit shutout as the Gamecocks defeated Vanderbilt 2-0 on Sunday afternoon to win the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseball series. With the victory, head coach Ray Tanner has now tallied 1,000 career victories. He is the fourth fastest active coach to tally 1,000 Division I victories in games played (Tanner is 1,000-446-3 in Division I). The Gamecocks are now 25-7 and 9-3 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 26-8 and 6-6 in conference play.
“I’m grateful to be where I am,” said head coach Ray Tanner. “I think I have one of the better jobs in the country and I’m just a part of a team. Like I said before, I’ve never made any pitches, I’ve never gotten any hits, I’ve never made any plays. I’m just proud to be part of this program. Jay Brown, I’ll always remember getting 1,000 when he pitched and I’m honored that he was the guy that went out there. He figured in with Roth and Price in a tough game today.”
In his second start of the year, Brown commanded the zone and worked ahead of the Vanderbilt hitters yielding just two hits while striking out two batters. He is now 2-0 on the year. Brown recorded a double play as did Michael Roth in the seventh inning putting the Gamecocks in position to face the minimum 27 batters. It would be freshman right-hander Matt Price that would close it out, as the righty worked two perfect innings with three strikeouts to earn his fourth save of the season. Vanderbilt starter Taylor Hill worked 7.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk in a tough loss. He is now 3-3 for the season.
“I am so proud of our team,” said head coach Ray Tanner. “We played hard and pitched great today. We didn’t dominate. We were able to win both games that were close and on the road against a great club, one of the better hitting and pitching teams in the country. I am really proud of what we were able to accomplish.”
Whit Merrifield didn’t waste any time to put Carolina ahead 1-0 as he drove the first pitch of the game from Taylor Hill over the green monster wall in left field. The home run was Merrifield’s team-leading seventh of the season. The game remained that way until the top of the ninth inning when Carolina added some insurance courtesy of Adrian Morales. With two outs and pinch runner Robert Beary on second base, Morales stroked a double off of Vanderbilt pitcher Russell Brewer off the wall in left center plating home Beary and giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead.
South Carolina finished with a 4-2 advantage in hits. Merrifield was 2-for-3 and now owns a 19-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 31 of 32 games on the year. Brian Harris was 2-for-3 to lead Vanderbilt.
Sunday’s series victory in Nashville also marked the first time in school history that the Gamecocks have won four consecutive series in conference play to open a season since joining the SEC in 1992.