June 3, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A stellar pitcher’s duel went South Carolina’s way on Friday night as the Gamecocks outlasted Georgia Southern, 2-1, in the second game of the NCAA Columbia Regional at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks improved to 46-14 on the year, winning their 15th consecutive postseason game at home and improving to a perfect 4-0 all-time at Carolina Stadium in NCAA Regionals. Georgia Southern falls to 36-25 and will face an elimination game Saturday afternoon against North Carolina State.
Michael Roth (12-3) got the win for the Gamecocks, pitching 7-plus innings while allowing just two hits and one unearned run while striking out four. Matt Price picked up his 16th save of the season with 1.2 perfect innings, striking out three of the five hitters he faced.
Georgia Southern righthander Andy Moye (7-2) pitched his second complete game of the year but came up just short, giving up just two runs – one earned – on four hits while striking out four and walking two.
South Carolina managed four hits in the game and Georgia Southern had just two; those numbers marked a season-low total for both teams. No player for either team had more than one hit in the game.
Georgia Southern would find its way onto the scoreboard first in the third inning. Brent Pugh reached on a fielder’s choise, then moved to second on a wild pitch. A single from Scooter Williams put runners at the corners with one out. Then, an attempt to hold the runner at first was bobbled by the Carolina first baseman, allowing Pugh to score on the play and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks would tie the game in the fourth when Scott Wingo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning then advanced to third as an errant pickoff throw sailed into right field. A sacrifice fly to center by Thomas brought Wingo home to tie the game at 1-1.
Carolina would leave a pair of runners in scoring position in the fifth, but finally managed to capitalize in the sixth. After Christian Walker drew a one-out walk, Thomas executed a hit-and-run to perfection to put runners at the corners. Morales then came through with a base hit to score Walker and give the Gamecocks the lead at 2-1.
Meanwhile, Georgia Southern continued to struggle against the Gamecock pitching. In fact, no Eagle baserunner advanced past first base after the third inning. Roth retired 11 hitters in a row before he hit the first batter of the eighth inning, giving way to John Taylor. Taylor would then record a strikeout before being lifted in favor of Price, who proceeded to strike out the next to batters to end the inning.
Price then worked a 1-2-3 ninth, including a strikeout of the nation’s leading home-run hitter, Victor Roache, to end the ballgame and send the Carolina Stadium crowd of 8,091 home happy.
The Gamecocks will face Stetson in a winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. Saturday. Live video and live stats are available through GamecocksOnline.com.