Gamecocks Beat The Tar Heels 5-4!

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Michael Campbell's two-run single in the fourth inning gave South Carolina the lead for good and David Marchbanks survived a shaky start and pitched six strong innings leading the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win over North Carolina in their NCAA Super Regional opener before 6,066 rain-soaked fans at Sarge Frye Field on Friday (Notes & Quotes Included) ...

With the win the Gamecocks improved to 43-20 on the season and moved to within one victory of the school's second consecutive appearance at the College World Series. North Carolina dropped to 42-22.

"That was one heck of a college baseball game today", said South Carolina coach Ray Tanner, whose team is participating in its fourth straight Super Regional. "I'm really proud of the way our team responded today. North Carolina can really swing the bats. Marchbanks got banged up early but like any experienced veteran he battled really hard."

North Carolina grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Sammy Hewitt's two-out single to center that scored Jeremy Cleveland. Steven Tolleson reached on an error to open the bottom of the inning and eventually scored when Landon Powell connected on a 3-2 pitch for his eighth homer of the season, a two-run blast to right center, that gave the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead.

UNC answered with three runs in the top of the second. Wes Moyer's two-run homer to center gave the Tar Heels a 3-2 lead, and Cleveland's two-out single to left drove in Blair Waggett for a 4-2 UNC advantage.

Powell, who has reached base in 11 of his last 13 plate appearances, had two hits and drove in three runs including an RBI single in the third that scored Justin Harris cutting UNC's lead to 4-3.

In the bottom of fourth inning, South Carolina's Kevin Melillo and Nick Gardiner opened the inning with hits and, after advancing on Jon Coutlangus' sacrifice bunt, both scored when Campbell lined an 0-2 pitch to center for the game-winner.

Campbell's ninth outfield assists of the season helped preserve the Gamecocks' one-run lead in the top of the fifth inning. With UNC catcher Chris Iannetta on first base and two outs, Wes Moyer lined a Marchbanks offering into the left field corner where Campbell came to a sliding stop to field the ball near the foul pole, fired a strike to shortstop Justin Harris, whose relay throw to Powell at the plate nailed Iannetta for the final out of the inning. Campbell, a freshman, is just one assist shy of USC's single-season record of 10 set by Paul Hollins in 1981.

Marchbanks (15-2) earned the win allowing four runs, two earned, on seven hits, while walking four and striking out five. Marchbanks, the SEC's Pitcher of the Year, settled down and blanked the Tar Heels on just three hits over the final 4 1/3 innings.

USC's Chris Hernandez, who blanked East Carolina, 4-0, in last week's Atlanta Regional opener, pitched the final three innings allowing a hit with a walk and three strikeouts for his second save of the season.

Daniel Moore (7-3) suffered the loss surrendering five runs, three earned, on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.

"Obviously it was disappointing not to win the game, but we have to congratulate South Carolina on their victory," said UNC coach Mike Fox. "It was a strange game and one that had the look of a 12-10 type game early on. Credit David Marchbanks for settling down and throwing strikes. South Carolina got timely hits and made the plays they needed to make." Game two of the series is scheduled for 12:35 on Saturday. North Carolina is projected to send freshman lefty Adam Kalkof (7-1, 3.92 ERA) to the mound, while the Gamecocks are slated to pitch Steven Bondurant (lhp, 6-3, 3.90).

North Carolina Head Coach Mike Fox

On today's game: "Obviously it was disappointing to not win the game. We have to congratulate South Carolina on their victory. It was a strange game and one that had the look of a 12-10 type game early on. Credit David Marchbanks for settling down and throwing strikes. South Carolina got timely two-out hits today and the lefties in the bottom of their lineup got key hits for them. They made the plays they needed to make. We did not get the two-out hits when we needed them. Chris Hernandez threw strikes and kept us off balance late in the game. We have to regroup and get back at it tomorrow."

On having runners on base in the 9th inning: "We had all the opportunity you could ask for. Jeremy Cleveland hit the ball hard but Brian Buscher was right there at third base and made a good play to get the out. We just did not hit the ball where they weren't. We had our three and four hitters up with one out and a guy on base and sometimes that pays off for you."

On facing elimination in Saturday's game: "We have a good bunch of competitors. At this point we know where we stand. Our backs are against the wall. Our guys know that we are fighting to stay alive. There is only one way to respond to that and it is not tentatively."

On South Carolina pitcher David Marchbanks: "I felt like our hitters were seeing the ball well, especially early. He is a competitor and after he got banged around early but he came back and showed his competitiveness. He settled down and made the pitches he needed to make."

On pitcher Wes Moyer's performance: "He struggled a bit early but was able to make good two-strike pitches. South Carolina was able to get hits off those so you have to credit them for doing that. He just missed location on a couple of those two-strike pitches and got hit. He was not hitting the spots as needed."

On baseball being a game of inches: "There is no question about it being a game of inches. Whoever coined that phrase was exactly right. Games often come down to that."

North Carolina OF Wes Moyer

On his homerun: "I've played against (David) Marchbanks before in the Coastal Plains League so I knew how he pitched. I was looking for a fastball on the first pitch and to my surprise he threw one."

If UNC picked up a pattern on David Marchbanks: "We couldn't pick up a pattern. He was working away and would come in when he got ahead in the count."

On Chris Hernandez showing his emotions during the game: "I didn't see that, but that kind of stuff doesn't effect us as a whole."

North Carolina 1B Jeremy Cleveland

Was there a contrast in pitching styles between David Marchbanks and Chris Hernandez? "Both of them threw their off speed pitches for strikes. Hernandez relied on his curveball more."

North Carolina P Scott Senatore

Will he be ready to pitch tomorrow: "We'll see, it will be one of those things were I'll wake up and see if I can good. I think I should, there is no reason not to because it could be our last game of the season."

South Carolina Head Coach Ray Tanner

"First of all that was one heck of a college baseball game. I can't ever remember a game where I had to work that hard without personally having to put it between the lines. North Carolina can really swing the bat. Marchbanks got banged up early but like any experienced veteran he battle really hard. We put Hernandez in and he pitched one super game to help us win. It was truly a magnificent game.

"The game was a boxing match. They made plays and we made plays. The game was back and forth until the last out."

On Marchbanks: "If you had anyone on the mound without the experience of David Marchbanks they wouldn't have been able to do what he did. North Carolina has such good hitters that it would have been hard for anyone. He stayed out there and battle for us. We won with what has got us to the position that we are in today."

On Hernandez's performance: "He's having fun. He made a contribution last year and this year I went to him when Aaron Rawl went down and told him he would have to carry an extra load. He said it would be his pleasure. He's really excited right now, he just got drafted, he's having a lot of fun enjoying the moment he's in right now and I couldn't be happier for him."

On Michael Campbell's play at home: "That was heck of a play. People remember the relay, but I knew that when the ball went in the corner it would be hard to play to come up with. Michael's been working hard for us all year and today he came up with a big hit for us. It's the kind of play you practice all year and sometimes it doesn't work out like it's supposed to, but today it did."

On Game One: "It's defiantly a situation you feel good in. It certainly helps with momentum. I'm not saying that North Carolina is not capable of coming back and winning on Saturday and Sunday, winning the first game doesn't guarantee anything, but it is a situation you like to be in."

South Carolina OF Michael Campbell

On 2-RBI single in the 4th inning: "He (Daniel Moore) kept the ball low, luckily I got the barrel on it, and hit it up the middle."

On Outfield assist in 5th inning: "I knew it was hard hit, and luckily it went in my glove and I made a good throw to Justin (Harris).

South Carolina C Landon Powell

"It felt good to be out there playing in front of our fans."

On Marchbanks: "He always gives you seven or eight strong innings, I never lost confidence in him."

South Carolina P David Marchbanks

"Chris was unbelievable today. He came in and threw strikes and did his job."

"If I don't locate my pitches, I get into trouble."

On two long foul balls: "That was a little scary, I was kind of willing it foul."

South Carolina Gamecocks

* Marchbanks improved to 15-2 on the season. He is now 31-7 in his career at South Carolina. The 31 wins ties him for 5th place all-time at USC with Dennis Lubert and Matt Threehouse.

* Marchbanks walked four Tar Heel batters. It is the most walks he has given up since walking five against Kentucky on March 3, 2003.

* In the 2002 Regional against North Carolina, Marchbanks pitched only three and two-third innings giving up eight hits, and six runs. Today Marchbanks, went six innings allowing only seven hits and four runs, two of which were earned.

* Landon Powell's two run homer in the first was the eight of the season. Powell also ended the game with three RBI's. He has RBI's in his last three games.

* Justin Harris double was the 13th of the season and it was his first since May 14, 2003 against the Citadel.

* Michael Campbell's assist in the fifth inning was his ninth of the season. He is one assist shy of the record by outfielders.

* The Gamecocks have totaled 10 or more hits in all four of their NCAA Tournament games.

North Carolina Tar Heels

* Prosser's error in the first inning was his first error since May 14, 2003. (10 games)

* Moyer's homer was the sixth of the season and his first since April 15, 2003. (16 games)

* Cleveland's first hit of the game was his 100th of the season. He became the second player in UNC history to record 100 hits in a year. (Brian Roberts in 1997 with 102)

* Moore lasted only three and one-third innings against the Gamecocks. The outing is his second shortest outing on the year. (Three innings against against UNC-W on May 2nd, 2003.

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