April 28, 2006
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina broke a three-game losing streak with a 17-hit attack behind the five-hit pitching of Wynn Pelzer Friday night to defeat Mississippi State 11-5 in the first game of a weekend Southeastern Conference baseball series before 3,841 fans at Sarge Frye Field.
The second game is scheduled for 4 p.m., EDT Saturday. Freshman right-hander Mike Cisco, 5-0, is South Carolina's scheduled starting pitcher. Mississippi State has not yet named a starter.
Pelzer, a sophomore making his first start against a Southeastern Conference opponent after spending most of the season in middle relief or as the Gamecock closer, improved his record to 4-1. He also has four saves. Freshman Aaron Weatherford started for Mississippi State and allowed eight hits and six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings to suffer his first career loss after four wins.
South Carolina improved its season record to 31-11, 12-7 in the SEC and Mississippi State fell to 29-14, 8-10. The Gamecocks took a one game lead in the SEC Eastern Division race as Kentucky lost 8-6 to Vanderbilt Friday night, dropping the Wildcat conference record to 11-8.
Pelzer worked 8 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs in the first two innings but only two hits after that. After he retired the first Bulldog batter in the ninth inning, Pelzer was replaced by Dan Luczak who failed to retire any of the three batters he faced. Luczak walked Wyn Diggs on four pitches, hit Joseph Hunter with a pitch and surrendered a three run homer to Andy Rice.
Andy Lambert came on to strike out Brad Jones and Jeff Butts to end the game.
Four of South Carolina's 17 hits were home runs, two of them by freshman first baseman Justin Smoak, his ninth and tenth of the season. Freshman shortstop Reese Havens hit his third homer and senior outfielder Mark Stanley his second. The other 13 Gamecock hits were singles.
Mitch Moreland hit his fourth home run for Mississippi State in the second inning and Rice, who replaced Moreland in the Bulldog lineup in the seventh, hit his third in the ninth.
Both teams scored a run in each of the first two innings. Jeffrey Rea led off the game with a double and scored on sacrifice fly. Three South Carolina singles tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning. Moreland's homer gave Mississippi State a 2-1 lead in the top of the second but singles by Trent Kline and Smoak, a sacrifice and a sacrifice fly tied it in the bottom of the inning.
The Gamecocks struck for four third inning runs on three hits, including Havens' two run homer. They added two runs on four hits in the fifth with a solo homer by Smoak leading off the inning. Stanley hit a two run homer in the sixth inning and the final Gamecock run came on Smoak's eighth inning homer.
The two home runs by Smoak gave him 10 for the season, one shy of the school record for a freshman. Drew Meyer, now a rookie infielder with the Texas Rangers, hit 11 homers in 2000 as a freshman.
Every player in the South Carolina batting order had at least one hit led by Smoak and Cheyne Hurst with three each. Andrew Crisp, Michael Campbell, Robbie Grinestaff and Trent Kline each had two hits. Hurst, Havens, Smoak and Stanley each had two runs batted in.
Rea had two doubles with four other Mississippi State players recording one hit.
All games of the Mississippi State series will be broadcast by the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody handling the call.
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