June 13, 2004
Columbia, S.C. -
Steven Tolleson capped South Carolina's three-run eighth inning rally with a two-out, two-run double lifting the Gamecocks to a 5-3 win over East Carolina and a sweep of their NCAA Super Regional before 5,613 at Sarge Frye Field on Sunday.
South Carolina, which improved to 50-15 overall with its 10th straight win, will make its third consecutive trip to the College World Series and its eighth appearance overall. South Carolina earned trips to Omaha in 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1985, 2002 and 2003. East Carolina ends the season with a 51-13 record.
In the eighth, Brendan Winn walked with one out, stole second and scored when pinch-hitter Ryan Mahoney lined a single off the glove of ECU first baseman Ryan Norwood that tied the game at 3-3. After pinch-runner Steven Reinhold stole second and Davy Gregg walked, Tolleson lined his 12th double of the season into right center scoring Reinhold and Gregg for a 5-3 USC lead.
Pearce, who's hit five homers and drove in 13 runs during the post-season, stroked an RBI double to right center that scored Bryan Triplett for a 1-0 USC lead in the top of the first inning.
Triplett's two-out single to left in the second inning scored Hank Parks from third for a 2-0 South Carolina lead.
ECU scored an unearned run in the fifth inning that cut South Carolina's lead to 2-1. Mark Minicozzi, who led off the inning with a single to center, scored from second on a two-out throwing error by Tolleson.
In the sixth, East Carolina's Drew Costanzo doubled to center, Trevor Lawhorn reached on an infield hit and Adam Witter walked to load the bases with no outs. Costanzo scored to tie the game at 2-2 on a grounder by Minicozzi, and Lawhorn scored for a 3-2 ECU advantage on John Poppert's suicide squeeze bunt off USC relief pitcher Zac McCamie.
McCamie (7-0) earned the win allowing a hit and a walk over two shutout innings of work. Chad Blackwell recorded his 19th save of the season and his second in as many days by blanking the Pirates over the final two innings with a strikeout.
Lawhorn (0-1), making only his second appearance of the season, suffered the loss surrendering two runs on two hits and a walk in the decisive eighth inning.