May 23, 2007
Hoover, Ala. - Harley Lail's one-out bases loaded RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted South Carolina to a 4-3 win over Florida on Wednesday afternoon on the first day of the SEC Tournament. Carolina advances to the winner's bracket and will face Arkansas at 6 pm ET on Thursday evening (May 24th). South Carolina is now 41-16 on the year while the loss drops Florida to 28-29 this season.
Carolina reliever Jeff Jeffords picked up the win with a scoreless 12th inning. He is now 6-1 on the year. Florida reliever David Hurst worked 5.1 innings and suffered the loss. He is 2-2 this season. Hurst allowed just five hits and one run, unearned with two strikeouts and two walks allowed.
Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 12th inning, Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak opened the inning reaching base on an error by Gator shortstop Cole Figueroa. After Hurst balked Smoak to second base, the Gators intentionally walked Phil Disher to give Carolina a pair of runners with no outs. Trent Kline sacrificed both to second and third base and pinch hitter Kyle Enders was intentionally walked giving the Gamecocks bases loaded and Lail at the plate. On Hurst's 1-1 pitch, Lail laced a single up the middle and past a diving Figueroa to score Smoak for the winning run.
Carolina out-hit Florida 10-8 in the game without tallying an extra base hit. It's only the third time this year that Carolina has not tallied an extra base hit. The Gamecocks also saw a streak of 16 consecutive games with at least one home run snapped. Lail, Travis Jones, James Darnell and Reese Havens each had two hits for the Gamecocks at the plate. Figueroa was 2-for-5 to lead Florida.
Carolina starting pitcher Harris Honeycutt struggled early but worked 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Florida went ahead 1-0 in the second inning without a hit. Three walks to Brian Leclerc, Austin Pride and Chris Petrie gave the Gators bases loaded with one out with Cody Neer driving in the first run on a sacrifice fly to right to score Leclerc.
Florida added two more runs in the third inning, this time knocking Honeycutt for three hits in the frame to go ahead 3-0 against the Gamecocks. Cole Figueroa and Avery Barnes had consecutive doubles to score the first run with Barnes scoring on Austin Pride's two-out RBI base hit.
Carolina finally got to Florida starting pitcher Kyle Mullaney in the sixth inning with a pair of unearned runs to cut the deficit to 3-2. Phil Disher reached base to open the inning on a throwing error by Florida shortstop Cole Figueroa that advanced him to second base. Kline would give the Gamecocks two runners with no outs on a walk. Kline and Disher advanced into scoring position then on a wild pitch from Mullaney. Carolina would score its first run on Robbie Grinestaff's pinch-hit RBI single. The Gamecocks' second run came on a RBI sacrifice fly to right field by Hurst.
South Carolina tied the game in the seventh inning with the third unearned run of the game against Mullaney. Travis Jones hit a hard hit ball to third base that was booted by third baseman Jon Townsend. The Gamecocks then put runners on the corners with no outs on a hit and run single from James Darnell. Phil Disher would score Jones on a one-out sacrifice fly to center field.
From the seventh-11th inning, both teams could not scratch a run as Hurst and Carolina reliever Curtis Johnson limited the scoring opportunities for both offenses. Johnson worked a career-long 4.2 innings and did not allow hit while striking out a career-high five to keep the Gamecocks in the game.
South Carolina has now won four straight opening games in the SEC Tournament dating back to the 2004 season. Wednesday's win also marked Carolina's second straight come-from-behind win with the team now 4-8 in one-run games and 10-10 in games decided by three runs or less.
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