Marchbanks Wins Both Games; USC Over MSU 4-3, 2-1

COLUMBIA, S.C. - David Marchbanks pitched the final three innings of a game suspended from Friday night by rain and the first 7 2/3 innings of the scheduled Saturday game to earn two wins as South Carolina defeated Mississippi State 4-3 and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference baseball ...

The junior left-hander improved his record to 9-2 and South Carolina improved to 25-14, 9-8 in the SEC. Chris Hernandez relieved Marchbanks and earned his first save in 1 1/3 innings of work.

The Gamecocks moved above .500 in conference play for the first time this season and moved ahead of Tennessee and Vanderbilt in first place in the SEC Eastern Division. Mississippi State dropped to 27-9-1, 10-6 in the SEC's Western Division.

Jonathan Papelbon, 5-1, was the loser in relief in the suspended game and Mississippi State starter Alan Johnson, 4-2, took the loss in the second contest. The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Sunday at Sarge Frye Field.

South Carolina led 2-0 when rain suspended the Friday night game after six innings. When play was resumed Saturday Marchbanks replaced Gamecock starter Steven Bondurant and quickly gave up a double to J. B. Tucker and a two run homer to Matthew Brinson to tie the score.

The Gamecocks regained the lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh. A walk to Landon Powell, an error and an RBI single by Demetric Smith produced the run. Mississippi State tied it at 3-3 when Matthew Maniscalco homered to lead off the eighth inning but doubles by Jon Coutlangus and Justin Harris produced the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning of the second game. Back to back singles by Brad Corley and Craig Tatum put runners at first and third and Corley scored on a sacrifice fly by J. B. Tucker.

In the bottom of the inning Harris doubled and Brian Buscher hit his ninth home run of the season to complete the day's scoring with the Gamecocks on top 2-1.

Marchbanks allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings of the second game but was relieved by Hernandez when outfielder Jon Coutlangus made a leaping catch at the center field fence of a drive by Jeff Butts for the second out in the seventh. Hernandez retired four of the five batters he faced, yielding a one out ninth inning single to inch hitter Robby Goodson.

The performance by Marchbanks was the first time since April 13, 1974 that a South Carolina pitcher had earned two victories in the same day. Right-hander Greg "Chico" Ward pitched complete games in a doubleheader, both seven innings, and defeated Georgia Tech 4-2 and 4-1.

In 81 innings this season Marchbanks has a 2.22 earned run average. He has struck out 63 and walked only nine.

The bloop double by Harris that drove in the winning run in the first game kept a hitting streak alive for the Gamecock shortstop and he had two singles and a double in the second game to extend the hitting streak to 17 games, the longest this season by a South Carolina player.

The home runs by Brinson and Maniscalco were the sixth of the year for each player.

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