March 19, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Scott Wingo’s two-out infield RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted South Carolina to a 2-1 victory over Georgia on Saturday afternoon in SEC baseball action at Carolina Stadium in front of 8,105 fans. Carolina is now 13-4 and 1-1 in the SEC while the loss drops Georgia to 9-10 and 1-1 in league play. The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with live video broadcast also at gamecocksonline.com.
It was a pitcher’s duel between Georgia’s Michael Palazzone and Carolina’s Steven Neff as Carolina trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, the Gamecocks made their move as Adam Matthews tripled to the gap in right-center putting a runner in scoring position. The Gamecocks then tied the game as Christian Walker roped a double down the left field line scoring Matthews and tying the game at 1-1. Entering the ninth inning, the Gamecocks went to closer Matt Price, who kept the Bulldogs at play setting up the heroics in the bottom of the ninth. Adrian Morales singled to left field, his third hit of the game, to open the inning followed by a two-strike hit by Jake Williams to center field. Evan Marzilli would sacrifice both runners over. With two outs and runners still on second and third and the count full, Wingo ripped a hard shot that first baseman Jonathan Hester dove for. Hester was able to keep the ball in front of him but Wingo hustled down the line and beat Georgia reliever Patrick Boling to the bag with Morales scoring and the Gamecocks clinching the victory.
Price earned the win out of the pen after one scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He is now 1-1 on the year. Boling took the loss after allowing one run on three hits. He is now 0-1 on the year.
Georgia went ahead 1-0 in the third inning despite not getting a hit in the frame. Joey Delmonico worked the count full before drawing a leadoff walk and Peter Verdin also went to a full count before being hit a by pitch to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners. After Curt Powell’s sacrifice bunt, Delmonico would score on Levi Hyams ground out to Peter Mooney at shortstop.
The rest of the way both Palazzone and Neff kept matching zero after zero on the scoreboard. Neff wounded up going seven innings and allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. The seven innings is the longest stint for him in his career. Palazzone also hurled a career-high 7.2 innings and allowed one run on seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks allowed.
Carolina had 10 hits to just five for Georgia on the afternoon. Morales was 3-for-4 and raised his batting average to .407. He has hit safely in five straight games. Matthews also went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Georgia was led by Chase Davidson, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate.
South Carolina will start sophomore LHP Adam Westmoreland (0-1, 3.63 ERA) with Georgia going with junior LHP Craig Gullickson (1-1, 4.50 ERA).