Early Lead Doesn't Hold Up As Gamecocks Fall 11-5 To Georgia
June 11, 2006
Athens, Ga. - Georgia pounded out 19 hits and rallied from an early four-run deficit to defeat South Carolina 11-5 in game two of the NCAA Athens Super Regional. The series is now tied one game apiece with the deciding third game on Monday with a game time change of 7 pm ET, television coverage on ESPN2. The winner of tomorrow's game advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Georgia will enter the game tomorrow with a 46-21 record while the Gamecocks come into the contest 41-24 this season.
"Today was a case of outstanding pitching by Brooks Brown," said USC head coach Ray Tanner. "He gave us a couple of opportunities early. We didn't get a lot of hits against him but we got some runs. Going through the first three innings, I guess we had a 4-0 lead and (Mike) Cisco ran into some problems. Georgia has a great club. They are going to get some hits and some runs. They throw the five spot up today and we never got into it after that. Of course Rip Warren and (Joshua) Fields in the bullpen - that pretty impressive."
Georgia starting pitcher Brooks Brown escaped a shaky early start to go six innings and allowed five runs, two earned, on just four hits while striking out six and walking three batters. He is 8-4 on the year. Relievers Rip Warren and Joshua Fields pitched a perfect final three innings of relief to clinch the win for the Bulldogs. Carolina starting pitcher Mike Cisco suffered the loss and is now 7-5. He worked into the fourth inning and allowed five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
For the second consecutive day, the Gamecocks opened up a 3-0 lead with two outs in the first inning. Justin Smoak drew a walk and Phil Disher reached on throwing error by Bulldog third baseman Ryan Peisel to give the Carolina a pair of runners. Andrew Crisp would drive in the first run of the game as he knocked a double down the left field line to score Smoak. Crisp and Disher would then score as Robbie Grinestaff laced a single to right field putting Carolina up three runs.
Carolina would increase the lead to 4-0 in the third inning. Smoak opened the frame with his second walk of the game and advanced to third base with one out on Crisp's second double of the game. After Robbie Grinestaff was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Smoak would score the fourth run as Brooks Brown threw a wild pitch past catcher Jason Jacobs.
Georgia would get to Cisco in the fourth inning and grabbed the lead of the game with five runs crossing the plate. Josh Morris got things started with a double and scored on Bobby Felmy's RBI single up the middle. The Bulldogs continued the hitting then with a two-run homer from Jason Jacobs to left field the cut the Gamecock lead to one run. Cisco would then issue a walk to Kyle Keen followed by a base hit by Ryan Peisel. Gamecock reliever Andrew Cruse would enter and on his first pitch throw high and past catcher Trent Kline giving the Bulldogs runners on second and third base. Matthew Dunn's sacrifice squeeze then scored Keen to tie the game. Georgia took the 5-4 lead on Cruse's second wild pitch of the game with Peisel scoring the go-ahead run.
Felmy continued his hot hitting in the fifth inning with a leadoff homer off Cruse to extend the Georgia lead to 6-4. The homer for Felmy was his eighth of the year. Jonathan Wyatt would increase it to 7-4 with a two-out RBI single to score Jacobs.
The Gamecocks bounced back in the fifth inning with a run to cut the deficit to two. Smoak walked for the third time and scored from third base on two outs when Grinestaff drove in his third run with a RBI base hit to right field.
Josh Morris would extend it back to three runs in the seventh inning as his two-our RBI single to center field scored Matthew Dunn to give Georgia an 8-5 lead. That lead would increase to 10-5 in the eighth inning as Peisel knocked a two-run double to right center scoring two more for the Bulldogs. Georgia would score once more in the eighth inning.
Georgia's 19 hits included three from Wyatt, Joey Side, Morris, and Peisel. Felmy and Jacobs also added two hits apiece. Four different Georgia players drove in two runs as well (Wyatt, Felmy, Jacobs, and Peisel). The 19-hit total allowed by Carolina pitchers was the second highest compared to the 22 allowed against the Bulldogs at the SEC Tournament. Crisp and Grinestaff each had two hits as Carolina finished with just four on the evening. Smoak walked a season-high three times and scored three runs. Grinestaff had three RBI.
"I thought we had a little momentum going into today's game after we won yesterday," said Tanner. "I said some things to contradict that, but certainly after a win we felt pretty good going into today's game. Of course they won today, so you think they would have a little momentum. The good news for us is it was looking like a one o'clock game but now I understand television changed it to a seven o'clock game, so it gives us a little better chance to recover. It's one game apiece now and tomorrow's game is for all the marbles."
Live audio and gametracker stats for tomorrow's game will be available at uscsports.com. The Gamecock Radio Network including 103.1 FM (WOMG) and 1320 AM (WISW) will carry the game with Mike Morgan, Tommy Moody and Tom Price calling the action. Carolina will start sophomore right-hander Wynn Pelzer (5-4, 3.63 ERA) with Georgia sending freshman left-hander Jason Leaver (3-2, 4.87 ERA) to the hill. Georgia won the coin toss after today's game and elected to be the visiting team with Carolina as the home team for the second straight day.