Bulldogs stun sloppy Gamecocks

Nothing seemed to go right for South Carolina Friday night as the Gamecocks committed five errors and were down from the very beginning on their way to losing to Georgia 4-2. Georgia starter Alex Wood (2-2) was outstanding giving up just two runs in 8.1 innings of work to earn the win. Michael Roth (4-1) took his first loss of the season. USC falls to 12-4 on the season; UGA improves to 9-9.

The start to SEC play did not go quite as planned for Carolina.

After losing just one Friday night SEC game all last season, the Gamecocks were bettered in almost every facet of the game on this Friday in front of 8,069 fans at Carolina Stadium.

Wood, 6-foot-4, 216-pound lefty with a fastball that hovers around 90 mph, kept the Gamecocks' bats fairly quiet all night long as he kept his pitch-count low and continued to cruise into the ninth inning. After 114 pitches, Wood gave way to reliever Tyler Maloof, who earned the save (7) when Scott Wingo's bid at a two-out, two-run, game-tying home run was caught on the warning track by Peter Verdin.

"I really felt the difference in the game tonight - and we battle to the end - but Alex Wood was very good - he was special tonight," head coach Ray Tanner said. "He was able to move that fastball around. He didn't throw a lot of off-speed pitches but a few. And he had pretty good velocity and he located some, and did a nice job and kept us at bay.

"I think you give all the credit in the world to Alex Wood for putting them in position to win."

Wood surrendered just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking two.

For Carolina, Roth gave his team a chance and probably pitched well enough to win. The junior lefty gave up just two earned runs on six hits and struck out eight in 6.1 innings of work but he was failed by his defense, which made five errors, as his pitch-count ballooned in the early innings.

"I mean it's a little frustrating, but growing up honestly I pitched on a team when I was really young that made more errors than that so I kind of grew callus to it," Roth said. "I made an error of my own to not help my cause. It can be frustrating but as a pitcher you just have to pitch and shake it off."

South Carolina was seemingly trying to shake it off all night long.

Georgia took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after a single, double and error.

Carolina looked like it answered in the bottom half of the inning when a Christian Walker opposite field hit appeared to bounce off the railing that stands above the fence and bounce back into the field of play.

Despite an argument from Tanner, the umpires ruled the ball did not go out. Walker was stranded at third in the inning.

Georgia added another in the third to go up 3-0 when after an in-field single and error on the throw put the leadoff runner at second. Georgia would eventually score on a 4-3 double play.

"We just have to make better plays and help our pitching staff out,"Morales said. "They did a great job today and we didn't help them."

The Gamecocks cut into the deficit in the bottom half of the inning when Adrian Morales drove in Wingo, who bunted himself on to start the inning.

The Gamecocks had a chance to tie it up in the sixth when back-to-back singles from Morales and Jake Williams put them on before a Brady Thomas groundout moved them both up.

Tanner elected to pinch-hit freshman catcher Greg Brodzinski for Evan Marzilli, who has struggled. Brodzinki grounded the first pitch to third and was thrown out to end the inning.

Georgia added an insurance run in the top of the ninth.

Carolina made it interesting in the bottom half of the inning when Thomas, who was 2-for-4 on the night, blasted a one-out no-doubter over the right field wall to make it 4-2 Georgia.

Maloof entered the game after a Beary walk and then struck out Mooney. That set the stage for Wingo's long drive to right-center to bring the fans to their feet. But it was not to be as it landed safely in Verdin's glove before he crashed into the wall.

"It hurts to lose tonight but it isn't the end of the weekend," Roth said. "We just have to shake off tonight and come back and play tomorrow."

Game-two of the three-game series starts tomorrow at 4 p.m. Steven Neff gets the start for Carolina.

"You play 30 in the league and that's just one you have to forget about and come back and play," Tanner said. "We didn't play our best game. Georgia pitched really well and they deserved to win. You have to forget about it and come back and play tomorrow.

"This is a league where you punch each other. And very rarely do you see a team win 23, 24, 25 games in this league. You're going to lose some games. But you have to fight like the `dickens' and win your share. That's what we are going to try to do tomorrow."

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