Gamecocks Fall 10-9 In 11 Innings To Kentucky
April 21, 2006
Lexington, Ky. - John Shelby's walkoff home run to lead off the 11th inning lifted 21st ranked Kentucky to a 10-9 win over seventh ranked South Carolina in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series. The Wildcats were able to earn the victory despite a seven-run rally by the Gamecocks in the eighth inning. Kentucky is 28-10 and 9-7 in the SEC while Carolina is 30-9 and 11-5 in the conference.
Freshman left-hander Chris Rusin retired all 10 batters he faced in 3.1 innings to pick up the victory. He is now 4-0 on the year. South Carolina sophomore right-hander Wynn Pelzer suffered the loss. He is now 3-1 this season. The home run in the 11th inning was the first run given up by Pelzer in an SEC game this season. He had pitched 19 scoreless innings in conference play before Shelby's homer. Friday's loss also marked the first time this year that Carolina has been defeated on Friday. USC was 9-0 in Friday games before the loss to the Wildcats.
Trailing 9-2 entering the eighth inning, the Gamecocks stormed back and mounted a seven-run rally to tie the game. USC began the rally with four consecutive one-out base hits from Michael Campbell, Neil Giesler, Phil Disher and Justin Smoak. The pinch hit single by Disher knocked in the first Gamecock run of the inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, pinch hitter Drew Martin launched a double to right field clearing the bases and bringing the Gamecocks to within three runs. A bloop single to left field from Andrew Crisp would put runners on the corners and set the stage for Carolina outfielder Jon Willard. Willard, who entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter, drove Kentucky reliever Brooke Baber's 2-2 pitch to right center tying the game 9-9. For Willard it was his third home run of the season.
The Wildcats went ahead early with two runs in the top of the first inning. Cowgill knocked a one-out solo homer to right field and the Wildcats put together three singles including a two-out RBI base hit from John Shelby to take a 2-0 lead.
Carolina would creep to within one run in the second inning. Robbie Grinestaff led off with a single and advanced to second on James Darnell's sacrifice bunt. After reaching third base on Andrew Crisp's infield single, Grinestaff would score on a RBI groundout by Cheyne Hurst. Kentucky would jump out in front 4-1 in the bottom half of the third though, on a two-run homer by Sean Coughlin.
USC would cut the deficit to 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning with a run as Michael Campbell singled, advanced to second on a balk and scored on Ian Paxton's RBI double. Kentucky would go ahead by four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning benefiting from leadoff double and hit by pitch that chased USC starting pitcher Mike Cisco. Ryan Strieby would score the first Wildcat run on a RBI groundout by pinch hitter Matt McKinney and Michael Bertram the second on wild pitch from USC reliever Chase Tucker. Kentucky added a single run in the sixth inning and two more runs in the seventh inning.
Each team finished the evening with 12 hits. Shelby was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI to lead Kentucky at the plate. Antone DeJesus and Sean Coughlin also added two hits for the Wildcats. Campbell, Giesler and Crisp all had two hits to lead the Gamecock offense. Crisp owns an eight-game hitting streak. Martin and Willard each drove in three runs.
South Carolina and Kentucky continue the three-game series on Saturday evening (April 22) with first pitch set for 6:30 pm. Mike Morgan and Tom Price call the action on the Gamecock Radio Network including Columbia flagship stations 103.1 WOMG-FM and 1320 WISW-AM. Live audio is also available at uscports.com and on Sirius satellite radio. USC will send junior left-hander Forrest Beverly (5-2, 5.10 ERA) while Kentucky will counter with senior left-hander Craig Snipp (4-3, 3.03 ERA).
Former South Carolina infielder Drew Meyer made his first apperance in the Major Leagues starting second base on Friday night for the Texas Rangers. Meyer went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first career MLB game.
TEXAS MANAGER BUCK SHOWALTER
On the major league debut of Drew Meyer: "I am proud of Drew. He was really nervous, but he went out there and got a pair of hits and made a nice defensive play. He knows how to play the game and is just a baseball player. He worked really hard to get here. It was a challenging road for him, but he has done a great job."
*** Special thanks to the Texas Rangers organization for providing the quote from Texas manager Buck Showalter.***