Gamecocks Force Rubber Game With 8-6 Win Over North Carolina|
June 10, 2007
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Jeff Jeffords picked up his sixth save of the season and pitched the final two innings of game two of the NCAA Super Regional as South Carolina defeated North Carolina 8-6 to force a rubber game for Sunday evening (7 pm) with the winner advancing to the College World Series. South Carolina heads into the contest with a 46-19 record with North Carolina at 52-13 on the year. Sunday afternoon's win also marked South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner's 500th win in the Gamecock program.
Game two of the NCAA Super Regional resumed at 2:36 pm on Sunday following a severe weather delay that caused the game to not finish on Saturday evening. South Carolina had jumped out to an 8-5 lead on Saturday before the game was halted entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Jeffords came into the game in the top of the eighth and got into a jam as a walk to Chad Flack and a base hit from Tim Fedroff gave the Tar Heels a pair of runners on the corners with no outs. After a strikeout to Seth Williams, the Tar Heels would cut the deficit to two runs on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Seager. With runners on second and third and two outs, Jeffords escaped more trouble with coaxing Garrett Gore into a groundout to third base to preserve the two-run Gamecock lead. Jeffords would work a perfect ninth to preserve the South Carolina victory.
Arik Hempy earned the victory for South Carolina after 6.2 innings of work on Saturday, in which he allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He improves to 7-3 on the year. North Carolina starting pitcher Alex White suffered the loss and is now 6-5 this season. He lasted only 3.1 innings and allowed six runs, five earned, on five hits and also walked three.
The Gamecocks opened up a lead in the first inning on Saturday with three runs against the Tar Heels. Travis Jones drew a leadoff walk against North Carolina starter Alex White and scored on a one-out double from Justin Smoak. The Gamecocks would follow that with a walk to Phil Disher and a RBI double from Trent Kline to gain a two-run cushion. South Carolina's third run was unearned when Disher scored on a throwing error by Tar Heel shortstop Josh Horton.
North Carolina picked up where it left off from Friday's game scoring a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the second inning to get within a run of the Gamecocks. Seth Williams connected with a two-out RBI single to left field to score Tim Federowicz and put the Tar Heels on the scoreboard. North Carolina then took advantage of a throwing error by James Darnell to score its second run of the game.
South Carolina went ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the third inning as Justin Smoak launched his 22nd home run of the year over the right field wall on White's first pitch of the frame. The Gamecocks added to that lead with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the advantage to 8-2 against the Tar Heels. Harley Lail got things started with a double down the left field line and Reese Havens drew a walk to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners with no outs. After a balk by White advanced the runners a base, South Carolina scored its first run of the inning on Steven Reinhold's sacrifice fly to center field. With White out of the game, the Gamecocks scored three more runs against North Carolina reliever Matt Danford. James Darnell collected a two-out RBI single and a two-run double from Phil Disher catapulted the Gamecocks to a six-run lead.
North Carolina got one run back in the top of the fifth inning as Benji Johnson doubled and scored on a wild pitch from Hempy to cut the Gamecock lead to 8-3. North Carolina added two runs also in the sixth inning on a two-run single from Federowicz to bring the Tar Heels within three runs.