Georgia eliminates South Carolina

HOOVER, Ala. -- Unfortunately for first-ranked South Carolina it was more of the same at the SEC Tournament as the Gamecocks fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and never recovered in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Georgia eliminating them from tourney play Friday night at Regions Park.

South Carolina was able to erase a 3-0 deficit to defeat Auburn in its first game of the tournament but for the second straight night never led and was never able to come up with a key hit with runners on base. Sophomore starter Colby Holmes picked up the loss.

While head coach Ray Tanner nor any of the players will ever admit it, the tournament meant very little in the long run for the Gamecocks.

The regular season SEC Champions had already done enough to lock up a top-eight national seed and now just wait to see what three teams are sent to the Columbia, S.C. Regional and what regional it will be paired with.

Regional host sites will be announced Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET while on Monday ESPN will televise the 30-minute show featuring the live announcement of the 64-team field for the NCAA Baseball Championship starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.

USC was again sloppy in the field at times and a fielding error on the first play of the game by second baseman Scott Wingo keyed the Bulldog's three-run first inning. An RBI double from Kyle Farmer and two-RBI single from Chase Davidson put Georgia up early.

"Obviously, I didn't make my pitches," Holmes said, though Tanner added that Holmes indicated the errors may have gotten to him. "I left a few up, (gave up) a couple of hits, and it got to me a little bit. After the first couple of innings I felt like I settled down a bit and got back in the hangs of things."

South Carolina had opportunities for big innings early but was never quite able to put it together.

The Gamecocks responded by pushing one across in the second when they started the inning with three straight hits, the third an RBI single from Evan Marzilli. After a Robert Beary strikeout, Georgia starter Blake Dieterich walked Steven Neff to load the bases but then struck out DeSean Anderson and got Peter Mooney to fly out to right to end the inning.

After Georgia scored a run in the bottom of the second, USC again loaded the bases with one out in the third. Marzilli again came through with an RBI single but it was lined too hard into right field to score a second run.

A 6-4-3 double play by Beary ended the inning.

From that point both pitchers seemed to settle in. Dieterich earned the win after giving up just two earned runs in a career-high 6.1 innings. He walked four and struck out two while giving up just six hits.

"It was a lot of activity early in the game, after the third inning not so much," Tanner said. "I thought Dieterich did a really nice job getting out of a couple situations that would have given us a chance to get back in. He made a couple good pitches, got some strikeouts and double play balls. We battled hard after the first inning but we never really got anything going."

John Taylor and Matt Price combined to pitch three scoreless innings to finish the game for South Carolina while Bryan Benzor pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief for Georgia and Tyler Maloof pitched a perfect ninth to earn the save.

Tanner wasn't happy with the two losses but also didn't fail to see the big picture of where USC currently stands -- 45-14 on the season with a top-eight national seed secured.

"We've won a lot of games and it's unusual for us to be in a situation where you get taken out a little bit early and have to fight your way back," Tanner said. "We've done a good job of fighting back but it's not something we're accustomed to. Hopefully it's not something that will be forthcoming."

Last season the Gamecocks lost their first two games of the tournament before going on their historic run towards a national championship. Following their quick exit, an unhappy Tanner put the players through grueling two-a-day practice sessions when they got back to Columbia.

While that will still be the schedule, Tanner says it's not necessarily as part of a punishment.

"I think we'll probably get a couple of those days in -- not a lot, but I feel like you can gain a little bit this time a year. You don't want to do too much obviously going into next weekend. But if you can have a couple of practices in a day then your focus is a little bit better than it would be doing it one time."

"I think we'll be fine at home," senior third baseman Adrian Morales said. "We'll just have to see who is in our region and come out and beat them like we've been doing all year."

To purchase Regional tickets, visit, stop by the Athletics Ticket Office in Colonial Life Arena at 801 Lincoln Street, or call 803-777-4274 or 800-4SC-FANS (800-472-3267). NCAA postseason regulations state that every person entering the stadium must have a ticket.

Super Regional booklets, priced at $45 each, are currently available to Gamecock Club members only. The Super Regionals dates are Friday, June 10, through Monday, June 13.

If available, Super Regional single game tickets will go on sale Monday, June 6, at 10 a.m. for $18 each.

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