Yardbirds Even The Series In Impressive Fashion!

South Carolina catcher Landon Powell followed up his four-hit performance Friday with three more hits, including a pivotal three-run homer in the third, and five RBI Saturday as South Carolina evened its showdown series with LSU at one game apiece with a thunderous 12-5 victory Saturday before a raucous overflow crowd of 5,908 at Sarge Frye Field ...

Powell contributed defensively as well, picking a LSU runner off third in the 3rd in a key spot when LSU was threatening to build on a three-run lead.

After that gem of a play, the momentum swung to USC as the Gamecocks scored four runs in the bottom of the 3rd, one in the 4th, and three in the 5th as USC took a 8-5 lead.

USC is 19-1, 1-1 in the SEC. LSU fell to 17-3, 1-1 in the SEC.

Aaron Rawl (5-0) was the winning pitcher. The junior from Lexington allowed 10 hits and five runs in 6-2/3 innings. Arik Hempy came on with two outs in the 7th and set down seven LSU batters in a row.

Hempy was not credited with a save, though, as USC held a five-run lead when he entered the game in the 7th and he did not pitch three full innings.

The third and decisive game in the opening SEC series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Rawl ran into problems quickly in the 1st against LSU's formidable lineup. Leadoff J.C. Holt homered to right. That solo blast was followed by a throwing error by third baseman Bryant Triplett and single to right, putting runners on the corners with no outs.

Rawl struckout the next batter before an unusual double play got him out of the inning. While a fly to medium center was scoring the run, the LSU runner on first tried to advance to second but was thrown out when Steve Pearce smartly cut the ball off and fired to second. That's 8-3-6 if you're scoring at home.

USC pulled off its second double play in as many innings with a 3-6-3 twin killing in the LSU 2nd.

Except for a two-out single by Matt Campbell in the second, USC generated nothing against LSU starter Lane Mestepey in the first two innings.

LSU expanded its lead to 3-0 with a leadoff single and one-out double into the left-field corner. It appeared USC had a chance to get the runner at the plate but a poor throw from the cutoff man was too late.

Landon Powell made one of the finest defensive plays of the season when he picked off the LSU runner at third.

After sailing through the first two innings, Mestepey encountered control problems in the 3rd. He walked Ryan Mahoney and Davy Gregg, USC's No. 8 and 9 hitters, to start the inning.

Tolleson laid down a beautiful bunt between the pitchers mound and third base that couldn't be handled. That loaded the bases for Triplett, who fell behind 0-2 before bouncing into a 4-3 double play that scored Mahoney with USC's first run.

Pearce kept the inning going with a two-out walk. Powell made Mestepey pay the ultimate rice for his sin by smacking a towering three-run homer to left that easily cleared the 10-foot wall. The blast gave USC a 4-3 lead.

It didn't take LSU long to tie the game, as Matt Liuzza led off the 4th with an opposite field homer to right. A double to the left-center gap followed.

Rawl worked out of the jam on a liner to left, foul out to right, and a groundout to first.

Campbell led off the USC 4th with a single to right. He moved to third when the LSU second baseman booted a chopper by Tommy King and the ball caromed into short right field.

That finished Mestepey, who was replaced by submariner Jordan Faircloth. USC scored a run on a controversial play at second when the umpire ruled the LSU shortstop had had possession long enough for the forceout.

LSU tied the score at 5-5 with a run on a double and throwing error by USC in the top of the 5th.

Some two-out lightning gave USC the lead for good in the 5th. Winn followed Powell's single to right with long two-run homer to left. Campbell doubled for his third hit of the game.

King lined a single to left that scored Campbell when the throw home was high and wide. However, King strayed too far off the first base bag and was tagged out sliding into second during the ensuing rundown.

Consecutive singles with two outs put runners on the corners for LSU in the 6th but Rawls worked out of trouble with a flyout to the warning track in left.

USC increased its lead to 10-5 with a pair of runs in the 6th. Walks to Mahoney and Gregg, the second time the pair had walked back-to-back, and a fielder's choice bunt (pitcher threw late to third) loaded the bases for Triplett, who lined a two-run single into left-center for his first hit of the series.

After Rawl got the first two outs in the 7th, Arik Hempy came in with a runner at first. Hempy did the job striking out LSU's No. 3 hitter on a sharp breaking curve.

After USC went down in order in the 7th, Hempy returned the favor in the top of the 8th.

Powell polished off his big day with a two-out, two-run single up the middle in the bottom of the 8th.

Hempy made it seven in a row when he retired the Tigers in order in the 9th to complete the comeback victory.

NOTES: USC has now won 7 of the past 12 meetings with LSU. . .The 12 runs Saturday represent the 8th time this season USC has reached double figures in runs. . .Landon Powell extended his hitting streak to 16 games with three hits Saturday. Powell is 7-for-10 in the LSU series and 9-for-14 this week. . .Powell has five HR and 24 RBI this season. . .Brendan Winn smacked his sixth HR of the season Saturday. Steve Pearce leads USC with 10 HR. . .USC committed two errors Saturday, only the fourth time in 19 games the Gamecocks have committed as many as two errors. . .Arik Hempy has struckout 14 and allowed only two hits and one run in 10.2 IP this season. . .Matt Campbell will start Sunday's game for USC

LSU – 201 110 000 = 5-10-1
USC – 004 132 02x =12-11-2

WP-Aaron Rawl (5-0)
LP-Jordan Faircloth (0-2)
HR-USC, Landon Powell (3rd, two on), Brendan Winn (5th one on); LSU, J.C Holt (1st , none on), Matt Liuzza (4th, none on).
Time: 2:25

Next Game: Sun. 3/21 v. LSU, 1:30 p.m.

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