April 1, 2006
Baton Rouge, La. - Fifth ranked South Carolina (25-3, 7-1 SEC) exploded for 18 hits with four homers from Michael Campbell, Robbie Grinestaff, Trent Kline and Justin Smoak on its way to an 18-4 win over 15th ranked LSU (20-9, 2-6 SEC) in the second game of a SEC baseball series. Carolina has outscored the Tigers 30-6 in the first two games and will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon (April 2) with first pitch set for 2 pm ET. The Gamecock Radio Network will air the third game with Tommy Moody and Tom Price calling the action. Live audio is also available at uscsports.com.
Saturday's win increases Carolina's winning streak to eight games. In that eight-game stretch, the Gamecocks have outscored opponents 91-23 with 110 hits in that span with a team batting average of .365. The Carolina pitching staff has also been stellar with a team ERA of 2.88.
Freshman RHP Mike Cisco worked his second longest outing of the season to pick up the win and improve to 4-0 on the year. Cisco went seven innings and allowed just two runs on three hits, both runs coming on solo homers. Cisco walked just two and struck out one batter on the afternoon. Senior RHP Andy Lambert worked the final two innings for Carolina. LSU starting pitcher Clay Dirks suffered the loss and is now 3-3 this year. He hurled 5.1 innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits. Saturday's game marked the worst SEC home loss for the Tigers since a 14-0 defeat against Alabama at Alex Box Stadium in May of 2000.
All nine batters in the Carolina starting lineup had at least one hit. Andrew Crisp and Grinestaff had three hits apiece with Campbell, Reese Havens, Cheyne Hurst, Kline and Smoak also each tallying two hits. Neil Giesler extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a RBI base hit in the ninth inning. The Gamecocks finished the game scoring 11 runs with two outs.
South Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. After a leadoff double from Grinestaff, USC first baseman Justin Smoak launched a two-run homer to left field giving Carolina a two-run cushion. It was Smoak's second homer of the series and his fifth of the season.
That lead would increase to 6-0 in the third inning with Carolina scoring all four runs of the frame with two outs. A two-out single from Reese Havens set the stage for Trent Kline, who knocked a 2-2 pitch from Dirks just over the left field wall for his third homer of the year. Mark Stanley would then reach on a fielding error by shortstop Michael Hollander and advance to second base on Andrew Crisp's single. Both would score then on a double to the left center gap by Cheyne Hurst.
After retiring the first 11 batters of the game, Cisco would give up his first hit and first run of the game as J.T. Wise connected on a two-out solo homer cutting the Carolina lead to five runs. That gap would then close to within four runs in the fifth inning as Jordan Mayer drew a one-out walk and scored from first base on a RBI double to the right center gap by Matt Liuzza.
That would be the closest LSU would get though as Carolina scored four times in the sixth inning to stretch its lead to 10-2 against the Tigers. Two-out hits would continue to be the key for Carolina as Hurst contributed with a RBI single followed up by a three-run homer from Campbell, his second this season.
Carolina made it a 10-run cushion in the seventh inning as Crisp drove in two more runs for Carolina with a two-out RBI single with the bases loaded. Another two-out RBI single from Havens would give USC a 13-2 lead in the eighth inning.
A five-run ninth inning would complete the scoring for Carolina highlighted by Giesler's base hit to score two runs followed up by a three-run homer from Grinestaff. Campbell and Grinestaff each drove in three runs. LSU scored twice in the ninth on a two-run homer from Quinn Stewart.
The series closes out Sunday as Carolina sends junior LHP Forrest Beverly (5-1, 4.33 ERA) to the hill with LSU starting junior RHP Derik Olvey (5-0, 2.58 ERA).
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