Disher Grand Slam Helps Lift Carolina To 8-2 Win Over Virginia
June 3, 2006
Charlottesville, Va. - Phil Disher hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the third inning and sophomore right-hander Harris Honeycutt did not allow an earned run in six innings of work as South Carolina defeated Virginia 8-2 in the winner's bracket game of the NCAA Charlottesville Regional. Carolina advances to the regional championship and will face the winner of the Virginia-Evansville game at 6 pm ET on Sunday evening. The Gamecocks need one win to advance to the NCAA Super Regional. USC is now 39-22 on the year while the loss drops Virginia to 47-14 this season.
Honeycutt gave the Gamecocks a solid outing in his six-inning performance has he yielded just five hits and limited the Cavaliers to one run while striking out five batters. He is now 6-0 this season. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Cruse relieved Honeycutt and picked up a save with three innings of work allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts. Cruse has three saves this year. Virginia starting pitcher Sean Doolittle lasted only four innings and allowed six runs on five hits and suffered only his second loss of the year. He is 11-2 this year.
After two scoreless innings, the Gamecocks stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Ian Paxton opened the frame with a single to right field and advanced to second base on the Cheyne Hurst sacrifice bunt. Paxton would score the first USC run on a two-out RBI single from Chris Brown that saw Brown advanced to second base on a fielding error by Virginia right fielder Brandon Marsh. With Brown on second and Reese Havens on third base, Virginia elected to intentionally walk Justin Smoak to load the bases and set the stage for designated hitter Phil Disher. On Doolittle's first pitch, Disher launched a towering shot to left center field for his first career grand slam that put the Gamecocks ahead by five runs. It was Carolina's fifth grand slam of the season.
The Cavaliers would get on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with an unearned run off of Honeycutt. Jeremy Farrell reached second base to leadoff the inning as he hit a line drive that was misplayed out of the glove of center fielder Andrew Crisp. Beau Seabury would then hit a base hit that put runners on the corners for UVA. Honeycutt would get the first out on a strikeout against Greg Miclat but allowed a RBI single up the middle by Tim Henry to plate Farrell for the first Cavalier run. With runners on first and second base, Honeycutt worked out of the jam as he coaxed Brandon Marsh into a fly out to center field and struck Doolittle out looking to complete the inning and limit the damage.
The Gamecocks would get one back in the bottom half of the fifth as walks to James Darnell and Chris Brown set the table for Justin Smoak, who knocked a RBI single to left field to score Darnell and push the USC lead to 6-1. Smoak would put Carolina up 7-1 in the seventh inning with another RBI single to score Darnell, who led off the inning with a double. The teams each traded runs in the eith inning woth Tom Hagan driving in a run for Virginia and Gamecock outfielder Cheyne Hurst taking advantage of an error by shortstop Greg Miclat to score from first base.
Each team had eight hits on the night with Smoak 2-for-3 for USC and James Darnell scoring two runs. Tim Henry had two hits for Virginia. South Carolina catcher Ian Paxton was solid behind the plate early as he threw out three Virginia runners in the first three innings trying to steal second base.
The regional championship game can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network including 103.1 FM and 1320 AM in Columbia. Live audio broadcast link is also available at uscsports.com. Mike Morgan and Tom Price call the action.