March 24, 2006
Columbia, S.C. - Left-hander Arik Hempy held Florida to three hits in 7 2/3 innings Friday night and Andrew Cruse pitched out of jams in the eighth and ninth innings as South Carolina defeated Florida 4-1 in the first of a three game Southeastern Conference series matching two top 10 baseball teams.
Seventh ranked South Carolina improved to 20-3 overall, 3-1 in the SEC, while ninth ranked Florida dropped to 17-9, 2-2. Hempy, 2-1, earned the win with Cruse registering his second career save, first this season. Florida starter Bryan Ball, 4-3, was charged with the loss.
Hempy held the Gators hitless through the first five innings but after South Carolina had scored twice in the bottom of the fifth, Adam Davis and Matt LaPorta singled to lead off the sixth inning. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Davis scored on a sacrifice fly by Brian Jeroloman for Florida's only run of the game.
South Carolina started the scoring in the bottom of the fifth. Cheyne Hurst walked and moved to second on a sacrifice. Michael Campbell doubled down the left field line to score Hurst. Campbell scored on a single by Neil Giesler who had two hits in the game to stretch his hitting streak to 15 games.
South Carolina added two insurance runs in the seventh inning. Chris Brown and Campbell singled with Brown moving to third on the Campbell hit. Giesler grounded out to drive in Brown and Campbell scored on a base hit by Drew Martin.
Hempy, who struck out a career high 12 and walked two, retired the first two Gators in the eighth inning but LaPorta got his second single and third hit allowed by Hempy. Left-hander Chase Tucker relieved Hempy and hit Jeroloman with his first pitch. Cruse came on and retired Brandon McArthur on a fly ball to end that threat.
In the ninth inning Cruse walked Brian LeClerc and wild pitched him to second base.
Austin Pride singled, sending LeClerc to third. Pride stole second base but Cruse struck out the next three Gators to end the game.
South Carolina out hit Florida 9-4 with the only extra base coming from Campbell in the two run fifth inning. Campbell and Giesler had two hits for the Gamecocks and LaPorta accounted for two of Florida's four hits.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 4 p.m., Saturday at Sarge Frye Field with freshman right-hander Mike Cisco, 2-0, the scheduled Gamecock starter and sophomore right-hander Bryan Augenstein, 5-1, going for the Gators.
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