June 5, 2005
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina rode four big home runs, two of them by Steve Pearce, Sunday to wins over Michigan and number one seed Georgia Tech to force another meeting with the Yellow Jackets on Monday in the NCAA baseball regional tournament.
The Gamecocks and Yellow Jackets will square off at 6 p.m., in Russ Chandler Stadium with the winner advancing to meet Tennessee in a super regional next weekend. Tennessee won the regional it hosted in Knoxville.
In an elimination game delayed three hours and 32 minutes in the eighth inning by heavy rain, South Carolina defeated Michigan 4-3 to earn the right to meet Georgia Tech for a second time. Tech drubbed the Gamecocks 10-2 on Saturday but South Carolina took charge early Sunday night in the rematch.
South Carolina which defeated Michigan 6-5 Friday to open the tournament, won another one run decision Sunday by scoring all of its runs in the third inning. A three run homer by Neil Giesler was the big blow. Trailing 4-0, Michigan narrowed the margin to 4-3 but got no closer.
In the second game, which started more than three hours late due to the first game rain delay, Pearce hit his 20th home run of the season in he first inning with Steven Tolleson on base to stake South Carolina to a 2-0 lead. Georgia Tech scored once in the bottom of the first but the Gamecocks made it 4-1 with two in the top of the second.
Georgia Tech again scored in the bottom of the second but Pearce offset that by leading off the third with a tape measure job that equaled his 2004 homer total of 21. Pearce also had a single and a double for a four hit game. Michael Campbell hit his eighth homer for the final Gamecock run in the sixth inning.
Right-hander Andy Lambert, making his second start of the season, pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and all three Georgia Tech runs to earn the win, improving his record to 4-0. Jason Fletcher, who pitched four innings of relief in the Saturday loss to Georgia Tech, shut the Jackets out on three hits over the final 3 1/3 innings to earn his third save.
The two wins improved South Carolina's season record to 41-22. Georgia Tech fell to 44-17. Michigan went home with a final record of 42-19.
South Carolina coach Ray Tanner called the double win "a long day at the ball yard."
He added that it was "really a tremendous day. We did some good things today and had some guys step up for us to make some clutch plays and some clutch pitches."
Of Lambert's pitching Tanner said, "That was a clutch performance. He's a guy that's been around the strike zone."
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