Gamecocks Win Atlanta Regional!

Ray Tanner's Yardbirds improved to 42-20 while pounding the Stetson Hatters 9-3 in Atlanta Sunday. Five Gamecocks were named to the All-Regional Team and Landon Powell was named the Atlanta Regional Most Valuable Player. Steven Bondurant got the win ...

Landon Powell was named the Tournament's All-Region catcher, Brian Buscher, Steven Tolleson and Kevin Melillo as infielders. Chris Hernandez was named one of the two All-Regional pitchers and Landon Powell was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player.

South Carolina dominated the final game at the plate and on the mound with Bondurant being pulled only to give Aaron Rawl some much needed work heading in the Super Regional next weekend.

In the meantime Gamecock batters went 14-39 at the plate against the Hatters' pitching staff while giving up no strike-outs in nine innings.

In other great news for Gamecock fans it now appears that South Carolina may be hosting the Super Regional verses UNC next weekend at The Sarge. Super Regional sites will be awarded Monday. Stay tuned to for game times and ticket information.

Postgame Quotes

POST-GAME QUOTES * GAME 6 * June 1, 2003

South Carolina 9, Stetson 3

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner

"We played three great games this weekend. We pitched extremely well, allowing just five runs all weekend. We got 47 hits, we played great defense. We were in position to win every game, and good things happened for us. I'm extremely proud of what this team's been able to do. Five or six weeks ago, people were saying it was the year we might not make it to postseason, but we came on strong at the end of the year. Now we've won a regional and we've got a chance to play in a super regional. I'm extremely proud of these players.

"It all starts with your pitching staff, no matter what league you're playing in or what level of baseball it is. You're only as good as your pitching staff, and our guys have done a super job all year. This weekend, Hernandez started things off with a shutout, Marchbanks went the distance and Bondo (Bondurant) was really good today. Stetson is a very good team. I've talked about their on-base percentage and how they can hit. We dodged a few rallies today. We just played about as good as we can play, and I hope that it can continue for a little while longer.

(On Steven Tolleson) "He's grown up a lot. Coming into the season I really had a lot of confidence in him because he's a dirtbag - he's played a lot of baseball since he was knee high and his dad was a former big leaguer. We converted him to an outfielder because we wanted him in the lineup. He struggled a little bit at times offensively but he was hanging in there. He knows the game and he plays it hard and does things the right way. This weekend he was in position for some good things to happen. He made a heckuva contribution this weekend.

South Carolina C Landon Powell

"It was just the team play around me. They say hitting is contagious and it really is. A lot of guys in our lineup were hitting, and that helped me out a little bit. I broke through and I feel a lot better at the plate, and I have to give credit to my teammates.

"Right now is the height of our season as far as how we've been playing. I don't think we've played this well all year. Like Coach said, it all starts with our pitching. Those guys did a great job. And we finally gave Bondo some run support.

South Carolina P Steven Bondurant

"I felt good. I knew we had all our pitchers ready in the bullpen, Those guys pitched great games the last two days, and that gave me some confidence to know I could do the same thing if I pitched the same way they did. I mixed my pitches up well.

"They're an aggressive team and they like to hit fastballs early in the count. I had my curveball working really well today. I was just trying to get ahead with curveballs and then sneak some fastballs in after I got a first-pitch strike. Probably 75 percent of the hitters I was starting off with curveballs and they were taking a lot of them.

Stetson head coach Pete Dunn

South Carolina was certainly better than we were today. It showed in their depth in pitching and we were scrambling to get arms out there today to be competitive and they had their entire staff available. And for the third straight game their starters did a great job. If there is anything positive we did see a relief pitcher. We did get into their bullpen. They didn't get by with three pitchers; they had to use a fourth one. I want to wish South Carolina best wishes. They certainly played well this weekend. I hope they have an opportunity to host a Super Regional and I certainly would love to see them back in the College World Series.

(On having 19 hits but only five runs against USC) That's a tribute to their pitchers. Every time we had an opportunity to mount an attack they got a double play ball or got a quality pitch and got at strikeout. If you look at their stats, especially with Marchbanks and Bondurant, they type of pitchers they are they don't have tons of strikeouts and they give up their hits but they get people out and that's the name of the game. They get people out when they have to.

We didn't play USC last year, we saw them in the CWS. Our impression was they were a much different team than in the past. They are a very feisty team. They are the best base running team we have seen all year. They go first to third on base hits; they tag up and come across on balls that most of us would not even try. They may be a different team that people are used to seeing out of South Carolina from the past, but it is not a lesser team. It's a different team. You have to give Coach Tanner and his staff great credit. They have a little bit different personnel then they have had in the past but they have gotten the most out of it and they know how to win within those parameters.

(On Brian Snyder playing DH instead of 3b) His fever was down this morning, still around 100. He came to the park and did not look good. He said I know I can DH and swing the bat, whether I can go out in the heat for nine innings I am not sure. We thought it was better to DH and get his bat in the lineup and stay with a little different defense. I am convinced if I would have asked him to out there he would have gone out there but we might have lost him in the middle of the game.

Last night we had people out of position and played errorless ball. Today we kicked the ball a little bit and walked a few people and every time we did South Carolina took advantage of it. That is a sign of a good ball club - they take advantage of other people's mistakes.

One of the toughest part about the line-up is we were kind of behind the eight ball without having (Destefano) in the lead-off position. He has done just a good job in the leadoff position all year and when we were forced to use Snyder as DH we didn't have him in the leadoff. We knew that if Snyder went down sick and Destefano was still pitching we could have moved him to the DH spot. We didn't lose to South Carolina because we had a bad line-up. We lost to South Carolina because they beat us. They just did a great job.

Stetson starting pitcher John Destefano

I thought I made some mistakes out there. I left some pitches up and threw a ball away. Good teams will capitalize on that and they did. They hit the ball hard.

Stetson center fielder Ian Church

When we got people on, (Bondurant) made real good pitches and kept us off balance. He just made pitches when he had to and did a great job.

(On the different line-up) I didn't think that we were not full strength. We put together a good line up. We just didn't do the things we had to do to win. We didn't capitalize when we had a chance with people on base. I still thought we put together a strong line-up and we thought we could win with that lineup.

From USC Sports Information

ATLANTA - Right fielder Steven Tolleson homered and went 3-for-5, and eight different batters drove in runs to lead No. 2 seed South Carolina (42-20) to a 9-3 victory over fourth-seeded Stetson (41-24) Sunday in the title game of the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.

With the victory, the Gamecocks advance to next weekend's Super Regional against the winner of the Starkville Regional, either North Carolina or Mississippi State.

South Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the second. With two outs, left fielder Michael Campbell reached on a throwing error by Stetson pitcher John DeStefano and later scored when center fielder Jon Coutlangus tripled down the right field line.

After Stetson tied the game at one on a solo home run by right fielder Pete Rasmusen in the second, the Gamecocks pulled ahead 3-1 in the third on sacrifice flies from first baseman Bryan Triplett and second baseman Kevin Melillo.

The Gamecock lead ballooned to 5-1 in the fifth, as designated hitter Nick Gardiner drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center, and Campbell singled to center field to plate first baseman Bryan Triplett, who doubled. Both runs were unearned, as a pair of Hatter errors contributed to the scoring.

However, Stetson rebounded in its half of the fifth to trim the margin to 5-3. Designated hitter Brian Snyder roped a two-out, bases loaded single to center field to score both Rasmusen, who walked to lead off the inning, and center fielder Ian Church, who singled up the middle.

But South Carolina put the game away with four runs over the sixth and seventh innings. Tolleson homered to left on the first pitch of the sixth, while catcher Landon Powell, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, drove in a run with a single to center and Triplett plated a runner on a fielder's choice. Shortstop Justin Harris closed out the scoring with a RBI single to right in the seventh.

Gamecock starter Steven Bondurant (6-3) scattered eight hits over seven innings to earn the win. He allowed three earned runs, while walking one and striking out seven. Aaron Rawl worked perfect eighth and ninth innings to close out the game.

In addition to Tolleson's 3-for-5 effort, Harris went 3-for-5, while third baseman Brian Buscher and Powell each added two hits.

Stetson's DeStefano (5-3) took the loss after allowing seven runs (four earned) and 10 hits over five innings. The Hatters used a total of four pitchers in the game. Second baseman Ben Hall paced the offense with two hits.

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