April 17, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Christian Walker’s grand slam highlighted a seven-run second inning and starting pitcher Sam Dyson did not allow an earned run in 6.1 innings of work as South Carolina defeated Ole Miss 9-5 to clinch a weekend SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium. Carolina is now 28-7 and 11-3 in the SEC while the loss drops Ole Miss to 23-13 and 7-7 in league play. The series finale is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon with a live video broadcast on GamecocksOnline.com and also available on the Gamecock Radio Network.
South Carolina has now won all five series this year in the SEC with eight straight series wins in conference play dating back to the 2009 season.
Trailing 1-0, the Gamecocks struck back with seven runs in the second inning off of Ole Miss starter Austin Barrett. Nick Ebert led off with a single that was followed by a double off the right field wall courtesy of Brady Thomas. With runners in scoring position, Adrian Morales delivered with a sharp RBI single up the middle that put the Gamecocks ahead 2-1. After Adam Matthews singled, the Gamecocks tallied their fifth straight hit as Bobby Haney laced a RBI single to right field that scored Morales. Wingo would also drive in a run with a RBI single but it would be Walker with two outs that had the big hit of the frame. With the bags full, Walker drilled the first pitch he saw from Barrett over the right centerfield wall for a grand slam, his third homer of the season that lifted the Gamecocks to a 7-1 lead. The last grand slam by a Gamecock player was Whit Merrifield on March 3, 2010 vs. Presbyterian. It was Walker’s first homer since the first weekend series vs. Duquesne.
Ole Miss took advantage of a Gamecock miscue to score a pair of unearned runs in the top of the third inning. Matt Smith and Zach Miller each drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. South Carolina added a single run in the bottom half of the third as Thomas tallied his second hit of the game with a homer to right field. The homer was his fourth of the season.
Both teams traded runs in the fifth inning with Ole Miss runner Tim Ferguson scoring with two outs on a passed ball. Adrian Morales scored on a little crazy of a play as Bobby Haney struck out but was able to draw a throw out of the catcher on the ball in the dirt to first base. With the throw to first, Morales sped home from third and just beat the throw by first baseman Miles Hamblin to give the Gamecocks the ninth run of the game.
It would get a little dicey for Carolina in the top of the seventh as Ole Miss looked to rally. Taylor Hightower would reach base on a fielding error by Morales at third. With two outs, Hightower would score on Matt Smith’s RBI single. After a single by Matt Snyder and a walk to Zach Miller loaded the bases, the Gamecocks went to the bullpen for freshman right-hander Ethan Carter. On a 0-1 pitch Carter coaxed Kevin Mort to fly out to center field preserving the four-run lead. Carter would close out the game with two more scoreless innings.
Dyson improves to 3-2 on the season with the win as he went 6.1 innings and allowed five runs, all unearned, on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Carter worked 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his first career save. He has not allowed a run in 12 of 13 relief appearances on the year. Barrett went 3.2 innings and allowed eight runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts in the loss. He is now 6-2 for the season.
All nine position players recorded at least one hit with the Gamecock finishing with 16 in the game, the second highest total by the Gamecocks at the plate this year. Thomas and Morales were each 3-for-4. Morales’ three hits were a career high. Walker went 2-for-4 with Ebert 2-for-3 and Adam Matthews 2-for-4 as well. Ole Miss had eight hits. They were led by a 2-for-4 day at the plate by Tim Ferguson as well as a pair of hits by designated hitter Matt Snyder.