Feb. 11, 2007
Wilmington, N.C. - Andrew Crisp tallied a career-high five hits including a game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning and Curtis Johnson came on in relief to earn his first career save with three strikeouts in one inning of work as South Carolina upended UNC Wilmington 9-8 in 11 innings on the final day of the Hughes Brothers Challenge. Carolina is now 3-0 on the year with the loss dropping the Seahawks to 0-3 this season.
After UNC Wilmington had rallied from five runs down in the final three innings, the Gamecocks were able to come across with the winning run in the 11th inning. The frame started with Steven Reinhold hit by a pitch and advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt by James Darnell, his second of the game. Crisp then came up and was able to lace a base hit to left field that scored Reinhold with the go-ahead run. Making his first appearance in a Gamecock uniform, junior right-hander Curtis Johnson struck out three of the four batters he faced to preserve the Carolina win.
Gamecock junior right-hander Wynn Pelzer (1-0) earned the win in relief with three innings of work allowing one run on three hits. He struck out five batters in his first appearance of the season. UNCW right-hander Larry Salefsky (0-1) suffered the loss after 3.2 innings of work. He allowed just one run on two hits for the Seahawks.
Carolina finished the afternoon with 17 hits including five from Crisp, as well as three from Travis Jones and Phil Disher and two by Trent Kline and Lonnie Chisenhall. UNCW tallied 13 base hits on the evening with Steve Halford 4-for-6 and Daniel Hargrave, Mark Carver and Nate Hall adding two hits apiece.
After outscoring its opponents 24-2 in the first two games, South Carolina would face its first deficit of the 2007 season as UNC Wilmington scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Daniel Hargrave had a one-out double and scored on a two-out RBI double from Jonathan Batts. The Seahawks would extend the lead to 2-0 in the second inning on a two-out solo home run from Nate Hall that cleared the left centerfield wall.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Gamecock bats would wake up in the third inning tagging UNCW starter Jeff Hatcher for five runs batting around the order for the second time this season in the process. Three consecutive singles by Crisp, Reese Havens and Jones would set the stage for Carolina catcher Trent Kline, who launched a 1-0 pitch from Hatcher over the right field wall for a grand slam. Kline's last homer came on May 14, 2006 vs. Tennessee and the four-bagger was the first grand slam by a Gamecock player since Phil Disher on June 3, 2006 in the NCAA Regional win over Virginia. The four RBI's tallied by Kline were a career-high as well. Disher would factor in the third inning as well as his RBI double scored Lonnie Chisenhall to increase the Carolina lead to 5-2.
UNC Wilmington got a run back in the third inning as back-to-back doubles from Daniel Hargrave and Steve Halford cut the Gamecock lead to two runs. Carolina starting pitcher Mike Cisco settled down after allowing three runs in the first three innings of the game limiting the Seahawks one runner in his final three innings of work. He struck out four while walking just one on the afternoon.
South Carolina would push it back to a three-run lead in the sixth inning as Chisenhall drove in his second run of the game with a RBI single scoring Travis Jones. South Carolina added two more runs in the seventh inning to go ahead 8-3.
A pair of Gamecock miscues would give UNC Wilmington an opportunity to get back in the game in the seventh inning cutting the deficit at 8-7. After loading the bases with one out, the Seahawks would score their first two runs as reliever Jordan Costner threw past catcher Trent Kline for the force at home allowing both Nate Hall and Rhett Miller to score. A sacrifice fly from Jonathan Batts and a two-out RBI single by Mark Carver would put UNCW within one run.
The game would be knotted up 8-8 in the ninth inning as UNCW scored the tying run against closer Wynn Pelzer. After the first batter was retired on a strikeout, UNCW's Daniel Hargrave would walk and advance to second base one a single by Steve Halford. That brought up cleanup hitter Jonathan Batts, who laced a single to right field. On the play though, Hargrave would get caught up between third base and home plate and was tagged out by Kline for the second out of the inning. With runners on second and third base, the first pitch from Pelzer went wild and past Kline allowing Halford to tie the game up. With a runner on third base, Pelzer would get out of the jam striking out Mark Carver to end the inning.
South Carolina returns to action on Friday, Feb. 16 in a round-robin tournament hosted by The Citadel. Carolina will face Liberty in the opener with first pitch at Joe Riley Park set for 12 noon. The Gamecocks will face the host Bulldogs and Richmond also in the event.
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