April 30, 2004
Columbia, S.C. - Brendan Winn drove in four runs Friday night with a two run home run, a double and a sacrifice fly to lead eighth ranked South Carolina to a 7-3 win over ninth ranked Mississippi in the opener of a three game Southeastern Conference baseball series.
Winn also had a single for three hits in four official at bats and Steven Tolleson had a perfect night with four hits and a walk in five plate appearances. One of Tolleson's hits was a double and he scored three runs for his best outing since returning to the lineup a week ago after being out a month with leg injuries. Tolleson boosted his batting average to an even .400, 34 hits in 85 at bats.
Junior right-hander Aaron Rawl pitched into the seventh inning to earn the win and improve his record to 9-2. Arik Hempy pitched three hitless innings to earn his first save. Sophomore right-hander Mark Holliman was the losing pitcher, dropping his record to 6-2. South Carolina improved its overall record to 31-11, 10-9 in the SEC. Mississippi dropped to 32-13, 11-8.
The game was delayed 44 minutes by rain after the top of the first inning.
Tolleson walked to lead off the bottom of the first and scored ahead of Winn's team leading 13th home run to stake the Gamecocks to a 2-0 lead which Mississippi cut to 2-1 in the top of the third. A walk to Cooper Osteen, a single by Brian Pettway and a sacrifice put runners at second and third. Osteen scored when Chris Coghlan grounded out to shortstop.
South Carolina got the run back in the bottom of the third on a solo home run by Kevin Melillo, his second hit since returning to the lineup a week ago after being out a month with a wrist injury. It was Melillo's sixth home run of the season.
The Gamecocks went up 4-1 in the fourth on Winn 's double that drove in Tolleson, but Osteen hit his second home run of the year in the top of the fifth to narrow the lead to two runs. The Rebels cut it to one in the seventh. Back to back no out singles by Matt Tolbert and Alex Presley put runners at first and third and Hempy was summoned from the bullpen to replace Rawl. He quickly retired the side but Tolbert scored on a ground out by Osteen.
A bloop hit, sacrifice, wild pitch, hit batter and passed ball gave the Gamecocks a seventh inning run and a 5-3 lead. South Carolina added two insurance runs in the eighth inning. Tolleson singled and Bryan Triplett doubled him to third. Landon Powell was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. Tolleson scored on Winn's sacrifice fly and Triplett came home on another passed ball.
Hempy retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. The only Rebel base runner after Hempy entered the game was Tolbert who reached on a three base error when Winn misplayed his fly ball to right field.
When Mississippi scored in the third inning it ended a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings by the South Carolina pitching staff.
In addition to four hits by Tolleson and three by Winn, designated hitter Ryan Mahoney had two hits, including a double, for the Gamecocks. South Carolina had 12 hits to six for the Rebels. The Mississippi hits were by six different players.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 4 p.m., EDT Saturday at Sarge Frye Field with junior left-hander Matt Campbell, 6-2, going for South Carolina and sophomore left-hander Stephen Head, 5-1, the scheduled starter for Mississippi. In his last start Campbell pitched a 10 inning complete game 1-0 win over Alabama on Sunday.
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