South Carolina Rallies Past LSU, 11-10, To Stay Alive In CWS
June 15, 2003
By ERIC OLSON
OMAHA, Neb. - Winning never seems to come easily to South Carolina at the College World Series.
The Gamecocks squandered a six-run first-inning lead Sunday and trailed by three runs before Landon Powell's tiebreaking double in the eighth inning produced an 11-10 victory over Louisiana State in an elimination game.
"We haven't been a great club, and we've won some ugly games," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. "But these guys like to play. I'm ecstatic with what they did after getting up early and then falling behind."
South Carolina (45-21) advanced to a Tuesday game against the winner of the Stanford-Cal State Fullerton matchup later Sunday.
LSU (45-22-1) was knocked out of the CWS in two games for only the second time in 12 appearances in Omaha.
"I can't say we lost our competitiveness, but we felt satisfied and thought we'd turn the game over to our pitchers after we got ahead," Tigers coach Smoke Laval said. "South Carolina was the better team today, maybe for a couple innings. That's why you play nine."
The Gamecocks, who lost 8-0 to Stanford in their CWS opener, seem to be following their pattern here last year. In 2002, they lost their opener 11-0 to Georgia Tech and then had to come from a four-run deficit to beat Nebraska in their next game to stay alive. They ended up winning four straight to reach the national championship game.
Sunday's comeback started in the seventh when Kevin Melillo homered off Jason Determann to cut LSU's lead to 10-8.
South Carolina tied it in the eighth when Brian Buscher, who had been 0-for-6 in the series, singled off reliever Billy Sadler (1-2) to score Steven Tolleson. Right fielder Jon Zeringue misplayed the ball, allowing Jon Coutlangus to score the tying run.
Powell, 3-for-5 with two RBIs, followed with the go-ahead double into the left-center field gap, scoring Buscher from first.
"It was a new game after Buscher got his hit," Powell said. "I went up there loosey-goosey and ready to go. I was able to hit it on a line."
Matt Campbell (6-4) picked up the win after allowing just two hits over the final 5 1-3 innings.
South Carolina scored six first-inning runs, all with two outs, against LSU starter Bo Pettit.
But LSU chipped away against Gamecocks starter Steve Bondurant in the second, cutting the lead to 6-3 on Clay Harris' solo home run and Quinn Stewart's two-run shot.
Justin Harris homered leading off the bottom of the second to give South Carolina a four-run lead.
The Tigers pulled within 7-5 in the third on Blake Gill's sacrifice fly and Stewart's bases-loaded walk against reliever Aaron Rawl.
In the fourth, the Tigers tied it on Ryan Patterson's RBI double and Harris' run-scoring single. They took a two-run lead on Zeringue's single and Stewart's sacrifice fly.
LSU was up 10-7 in the fifth after Matt Liuzza hit a leadoff double and scored when Justin Harris misplayed Aaron Hill's two-out grounder to shortstop.
"I knew in the first inning when we were fortunate to put up that six spot that they would be back," Tanner said. "There was no question about that. We feel very fortunate to still be here."