South Carolina Advances to Second Straight College World Series with 14-4 Crushing of North Carolina
June 7, 2003
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Brian Buscher and Landon Powell hit two homers each and Justin Harris added four hits as South Carolina broke open a close game by scoring 10 runs in their final three at bats en route to a 14-4 win over North Carolina and a sweep of their best-of-three NCAA Super Regional before 5,782 at Sarge Frye Field on Saturday.
With the win the Gamecocks improved to 44-20 overall and advance to the College World Series for the second consecutive season and for the seventh time in school history overall. The Tar Heels end the season with a 42-23 record.
South Carolina's six previous trips to the Omaha occurred in 1975 (2nd place), 1977 (2nd), 1981 (4th), 1982 (7th), 1985 (7th) and 2002 (2nd).
"After getting to Omaha last year with a very talented group of players and losing a large majority of them and having some veterans back, this was a tremendous challenge for us," said South Carolina coach Ray Tanner, whose team has won 206 games over the past four seasons. "We had trouble finding combinations early in the year to make us go, but these guys got it together on the field and deserve a tremendous amount of credit."
"South Carolina certainly deserved to win this regional, they out played us," said North Carolina coach Mike Fox. "They've been playing extremely well and with a lot of confidence and it really showed. I congratulate them and wish them luck in Omaha."
The Tar Heels opened the scoring in the second inning. Ryan Blake's two-out single to center scored Sean Farrell and Wes Moyer's RBI double to right scored Blake from second for a 2-0 UNC lead.
The Gamecocks, who pounded out 21 hits on the day, answered with four runs in the top of the third inning. Brian Buscher's RBI single to right scored Michael Campbell cutting UNC's lead to 2-1, and Powell followed with his ninth homer of the season, a towering three-run shot to left, that gave USC a 4-2 advantage.
After UNC cut the margin to 4-3 with an unearned run in the fourth, USC scored three times in the top of the seventh to take a 7-3 lead.
Justin Harris led off the inning with a hit and scored when Buscher followed with his 13th homer and 100th hit of the season, a two-run shot down the right field line that extended the Gamecock's lead to 6-3. Powell followed with a double to right, moved to third on Bryan Triplett's bunt single, and scored on Kevin Melillo's sacrifice fly to center field.
Blake had an RBI single in the seventh for North Carolina, and USC reserve Tim Seaton added a run-scoring single in the top of the eighth giving USC an 8-4 lead. The Gamecocks exploded for six runs on five hits in the top of the ninth including back-to-back homers by Buscher and Powell for the final margin.
Buscher finished with a season-high six RBI and enjoyed his third four-hit game of the season. Harris scored three times and had four hits for the fifth time this spring, while Powell collected three hits and drove in four. UNC got two hits each from Farrell, Blake, Moyer, Jeremey Cleveland and Blair Waggett.
Steven Bondurant (7-3) scattered 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings of work to earn the win. He allowed four runs, three earned, while walking one and striking out seven.
Adam Kalkhof (7-2) suffered the loss surrendering four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.