March 20, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C.---Fourth-ranked South Carolina defeated Georgia 8-3 Sunday in the rubber game of a SEC series in front of a crowd of 8,012 at Carolina Stadium.
Sunday’s game marked the end of a nine-game road trip for the Bulldogs (9-11, 1-2 SEC). They posted a 6-3 record playing in seven different stadiums in this stretch that began on March 8th.
The Bulldogs jumped ahead 2-0 in the second when USC left-hander Adam Westmoreland lost command and left after loading the bases with two hit batters and a walk. The Gamecocks looked to Forest Koumas. Catcher Joey Delmonico made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly. Koumas struck out Peter Verdin and then sophomore Curt Powell came through with a two-out, run-scoring single for a 2-0 advantage. After a walk to Levi Hyams loaded the bases again, Koumas got Zach Cone to flyout to avoid a big inning. The Gamecocks answered with two runs on four hits in their half of the second off junior left-hander Craig Gullickson. Scott Wingo and Adam Matthews drove in runs. On Matthews’ two-out RBI-single, right fielder Chase Davidson threw out Wingo trying to go to third to end the frame. Georgia went to senior Eric Swegman to start the USC third with the game tied at 2-2.
USC (14-4, 2-1 SEC) took a 3-2 lead in third courtesy of a pair of two-out walks to Jake Williams and Brady Thomas and then left fielder Robert Beary lined a run-scoring single to centerfield. On a 1-0 count, Swegman was lifted in favor of senior John Herman who got the final out to keep it a one-run contest. Georgia tied the game in the top of the fourth. Verdin registered his second triple of the season and scored on a balk by Koumas. USC went back on top 4-3 in the fourth as Herman issued back-to-back walks to start the inning. Earl Daniels came on as USC moved the runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Matthews. An RBI-groundout by Walker made it 4-3 Gamecocks. After a walk to Adrian Morales, Georgia went to the bullpen again, this time bringing in Blake Dieterich who kept it a one-run game.
Georgia failed to capitalize on a Gamecock error in the fifth that allowed runners at the corners with one out. USC ace reliever John Taylor, who came in with an 0.64 ERA on the year, got Kyle Farmer to bounce into a double play. USC made it 5-3 in the sixth as Matthews and Walker collected back-to-back singles. Adrian Morales’s RBI-groundout brought Matthews home. A throwing error by Farmer in the eighth and a two-run double by Evan Marzilli off junior Ben Cornwell led to three Gamecock runs and extended their lead to 8-3. Georgia brought in sophomore Kevin Ruiz to get the final out of the eight as USC sent nine to the plate, scoring three runs on two hits and one error and left the bases loaded.
Koumas picked up the win to improve to 2-0 while Herman dropped to 1-2. After just two walks in the first two games of the series, Bulldog pitchers issued 10 walks Sunday. Offensively, Georgia managed three runs on four hits and struck out a season-high 14 times. Hyams saw his 11-game hitting streak end after going 0-for-4 with a walk. Price picked up his fifth save.
“We didn’t pitch very well today, and we still had a chance late in the ball game until they broke it open in the eighth,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We had too many walks and need to generate more offense. We managed to score three runs on four hits. It was a disappointing way to finish the road trip because this was our worst game. I know we’re looking forward to playing at home and staying off buses and airplanes for a while.”
The Bulldogs return to Foley Field and will play nine of their next 10 games at home. Georgia has played an SEC-low seven home games this season. Up next, Georgia plays host to No. 21 Georgia Tech (17-4) Tuesday at 7:06 p.m. The game will be televised by CSS. The Yellow Jackets have won 12 in a row since a 6-3 loss to Georgia State on March 2.