Shutout Loss

Drew Pomeranz pitched well as usual, but so did Blake Cooper as South Carolina prevailed against Ole Miss 5-0.

The Rebel ace worked 7.0 innings and held the Gamecocks to two hits while striking out 10 and walking four.

Blake Cooper (7-0) picked up the win as he held the Rebels to four hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts on the night.

Cooper went the distance, but when Pomeranz exited with the game 0-0, that's when things unraveled for the Rebels.

South Carolina got five runs in the eighth inning after the Rebels went to the bullpen for Trent Rothlin to start the inning.

After a walk to the first batter and one ball to the second, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco again went to the bullpen, this time for Brett Huber. Huber finished the at-bat at hand, walking Whit Merrifield, the Gamecocks' leadoff batter, to put two men on with no outs.

James Bradley Jr. then bunted down the third base line. The throw from Rebel third baseman Zach Miller was just off the mark allowing Bradley Jr. to reach on the throwing error and the lead runner to score while Merrifield made it to third. A wild pitch got Bradley to second and put two Gamecocks in scoring position.

South Carolina already had enough runs in this one, as the Rebels would be shut out for the first time since Missouri did so back in the Miami Regional in May, 2008. But there would be more.

A walk loaded the bases before Adrian Morales doubled to clear the bases clearing double and make it 4-0. The Gamecocks scored the final run of the game when Morales came home on a triple from Kyle Enders for the final 5-0 margin.

"I was getting in bad counts a lot, and it was getting my pitch count up," Pomeranz said. "I got tired in the middle innings a little bit. My arm was dragging a little, and I had to figure out my rhythm. Once I got my rhythm back, it was a lot easier to pitch. I struggled with the fast ball a little bit, just getting in bad counts. My curve ball was on, and it always helps when you have one pitch you can go to."

"It really was a gutsy performance," Bianco said of Pomeranz. "We've said it before, this guy pitches his best on the biggest stages. This may be the toughest place we've played all year against another ace that's really competing out there and handling us offensively. (Drew) just hung in there and with not his best stuff. His velocity was down today and it wasn't his best command. He comes out of the game after seven innings with two bunt base hits."

Bianco said Cooper was good as well.

"Obviously we're not the first team he's done this to," he said. "He throws a ton of breaking balls, a lot of curves, a lot of sliders. He keeps you off balance, and we couldn't mount anything."

The Rebels' best opportunity to score, it appears, was in the top of the sixth inning when errors allowed the first two Rebels, Kevin Mort and Matt Smith, to reach. But after Matt Snyder struck out, an umpire's decision wiped the Rebels' scoring chances off the bases. Smith was headed to second base on a Zach Miller hit, but an umpire ruled Smith interfered with the second baseman by not sliding into the base straight on. Smith was called out and so was Miller since it eliminated a chance for the double play.

South Carolina was out of the inning, and Bianco argued briefly but to no avail.

"(The umpire) said he was out of the base line." Bianco said. "In college baseball you've got to slide straight into the base, regardless if you actually make contact. You could look out there and see this line that wasn't straight into the base."

Both teams wound up with just four hits in the contest. Rothlin (3-4) got the loss.

Cooper's performance was the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Aaron Rawl in 2005 in a 2-0 win at Ole Miss.

Saturday's 2 p.m. (CT) game is televised by SportSouth. Sam Dyson (Jr., RHP, 2-2, 5.87 ERA) will start for USC, while Aaron Barrett (Sr., RHP, 6-1, 1.90 ERA) starts for the Rebs.


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