USC downs Delaware State - Remains Perfect

South Carolina, the No. 3 team in the nation, maintained its perfect start to the 2004 season Saturday, as solid pitching and timely hitting carried the Gamecocks past Delaware State, 7-0, before 3,800 fans at Sarge Frye Field ...

Aaron Rawl struckout seven, scattered five hits, and walked no one in eight innings to become the second USC hurler to start 4-0 this season.

Rawl did not come close to walking a batter, as he never went to three balls on any Delaware State hitter.

USC was never threatened after scoring four times in the 4th on five consecutive hits to grab a 5-0 lead. USC added two runs in the 7th on a double by Michael Campbell.

USC is 16-0 with two nonconference games remaining until the SEC opener Friday against LSU. Delaware State fell to 8-10.

Rawl surrendered a one-out single in the first and a two-out single in the second before retiring the Hornets.

USC wasted little time jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Bryan Triplett doubled to right-center with one out and scored on Landon Powell's two-out single through the hole into left.

Michael Campbell reached third with two outs in the second (walk, stolen base, wild pitch) but Davy Gregg bounced out to first to end the threat.

Tolleson led off the USC 3rd by reaching second on a throwing error by the Delaware State shortstop. Triplett lined to the shortstop and Pearce grounded out to second to move Tolleson to third with two outs. Powell flied out to center for the final out.

Delaware had a runner reach on an infield single with one out in the 4th before USC turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Pearce dug Kevin Melillo's low pivot throw from second out of the dirt to complete the twin killing.

The bottom half of the USC batting order came through for USC in the 4th as the Gamecocks scored four runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

Consecutive singles by Melillo and Campbell put runners on the corners with one out. Hank Parks, who had only 14 at-bats coming into Saturday's game, singled past short to score Melillo.

Davy Gregg, the No. 9 hitter, smoked a line drive single into left to plate Campbell, giving USC a 3-0 lead.

Tolleson made it five consecutive Gamecock hits when he doubled to left-center, scoring Parks from second. Triplett drove in Gregg with a sacrifice fly to deep center, increasing the lead to 5-0.

Tolleson advanced to third on a wild pitch but stayed there as Pearce waved at strike three.

Delaware State got a runner to third in the 5th on a leadoff double and groundout but Rawl bore down and struckout the next two hitters to preserve the shutout.

Powell led off the USC 5th with a bad-hop single over the head of the Delaware State third baseman. He advanced to second on a wild pitch on strike three to Winn, who was thrown out 2-3.

Melillo singled to right and Powell, hardly a speedster, was thrown out at the plate for the second out. Melillo went to second on the throw home and strolled to third on a balk.

Campbell couldn't deliver the run, though, when he grounded out to second.

Gregg reached on a bunt single with one out in the bottom of the sixth. He raced to third when the throw to second on a stolen base attempt went awry.

USC tried the safety squeeze with Tolleson up but Gregg was out at the plate. Triplett flied out to right-center to end the inning.

Triplett displayed some great glovework in the 7th. He made a great defensive play for the first out when he dove to his right to snare a hard grounder down the line and rose up to throw out the runner with ease.

Triplett then came charging in to take a slow roller and throw across his body to first for the final out.

USC added two runs in the 7th. After Pearce walked to lead off the USC 7th and Kevin Melillo doubled down the first base line, Campbell scored both runners with a double off the wall in right to give USC a 7-0 lead.

Rawl worked a perfect 8th (K, K, F-8) before giving way to Harris Honeycutt for the 9th. Honeycutt made quick work of the Hornets to complete the shutout.

NOTES: Kevin Melillo led USC with three hits Saturday. Three others had two hits.
.USC pitchers posted the sixth shutout of the season. It was also the sixth time they have not issued a walk. . .USC pitches have struckout 190 and walked only 17 in 143 innings this season.
.The 17 walks in 143 innings means USC pitchers are giving up only 1.1 walks per nine innings.
.The shutout Saturday lowered USC's team ERA to 1.64. .USC collected 12 hits Saturday marking the 14th time in 16 games the Gamecocks have reached doubles figures in hits.
.Landon Powell collected his 200th career hit for USC with a RBI single in the first. He is the 18th USC player to reach 200 hits in a career.
.Saturday's game was played in a crisp 1 hour, 53 minutes. Baseball games tend to go quickly when you don't walk anyone and throw strikes.
.Harris Honeycutt, a freshman from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, made his third appearance of the season in the ninth. He has not surrendered a hit or run in four innings of work this season.
.Matt Campbell will start Sunday's series finale for USC.

DEL – 000 000 000 = 0-5-2
USC – 100 400 20x= 7-12-0

WP-Aaron Rawl (4-0)
LP-Derek Batton (2-2)
Time: 1:53

Next Game: Sun. 3/14 v. Delaware State, 1:30 p.m.

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