May 14, 2006
Columbia, S.C. - Cheyne Hurst hit a three run second inning home run Sunday and freshman left-hander Will Atwood took a shutout into the sixth inning as South Carolina defeated Tennessee 9-2 to salvage the final game of a three game Southeastern Conference baseball series.
The win broke a string of five consecutive SEC losses for South Carolina and improved its record to 34-18 overall, 14-13 in the SEC. South Carolina plays its final non-conference game vs. Furman on Tuesday night at West End Field and then travels to Nashville to end regular season play with a three-game SEC series, Thursday, Friday and Saturday against Vanderbilt.
Atwood was the winning pitcher Sunday, improving his record to 4-1. Freshman right-hander Josh Lindblom, 4-6, took the loss for Tennessee. The Vols saw their record drop to 30-21, 11-15. Tennessee plays Belmont Tuesday and then ends its regular season with a weekend home series against Alabama.
Justin Smoak walked and Neil Giesler singled ahead of Hurst's fourth home run of the season to stake South Carolina to a 3-0 second inning lead. Two walks, a stolen base, sacrifice and a wild pitch increased the lead to 4-0 without a hit in the fourth inning and it expanded to 5-0 on three hits in the fifth. Chris Brown doubled and scored on a base hit by Michael Campbell.
Tennessee scored its two runs on only one hit, a bunt single by Jarred Frazier, and sent Atwood to the showers in the top of the sixth inning. Atwood hit two batters and with one out was relieved by Jeff Jeffords with the bases loaded. Jeffords walked J. P. Arencibia to force in Frazier and Julio Borbon scored after left-fielder Hurst caught a long foul fly ball by Kelly Edmundson.
In 5 1/3 innings Atwood struck out five, walked none, allowed only four hits but hit two batters and was charged with both Tennessee runs.
South Carolina gained some breathing room with a three run seventh inning. A hit batter and four singles, by Trent Kline, Andrew Crisp, Smoak and Giesler produced the rally. The final run scored in the bottom of the eighth. Reese Havens singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on a base hit by Crisp.
Jeffords retired two batters and gave up a single to Borbon in the top of the ninth inning when the game was suspended for 33 minutes due to lightning and a brief rain shower. Most of the crowd of 3,512 had gone home when play was resumed. Chase Tucker relieved Jeffords and struck out Tony Delmonico to end the game.
Every player in the South Carolina batting order had at least one hit with Crisp recording three and Kline and Giesler two each. Campbell, playing in his school record 252nd game, had two runs batted in and Hurst drove in three with his homer. A double by Brown and the Hurst homer were the only extra base hits.
Michael Rivera had three of Tennessee's seven hits, all of which were singles.
Prior to the final game of the season at Sarge Frye Field, South Carolina recognized its eight seniors. Those honored included pitchers John Gregory, Shaun Valdes-Fauli and Andy Lambert, outfielders Michael Campbell and Mark Stanley, third baseman Neil Giesler, second baseman Chris Brown and catcher Ian Paxton.
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