Gamecocks Edge Florida on Powell's Homer In 10th

The Gamecocks evened its SEC record at 5-5 with a 5-4 victory in 10 innings over the Florida Gators Friday at Sarge Frye Field. Landon Powell homered to center with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give USC the victory, while Brendan Winn added a three-run homer. Arik Hempy picked up his first career victory with a stellar performance in relief...

Landon Powell has had one of the hottest bats in the South Carolina lineup for several weeks.

Friday night, he picked a good time to stay hot.

Powell drilled a controversial home run to centerfield with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give South Carolina a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Florida Gators in the opener of a key SEC series before a Good Friday gathering of 4,827 at Sarge Frye Field.

USC is 24-6 overall, 5-5 in the SEC, following its third straight conference victory. Florida (25-9, 5-5) , swept at home by Georgia last weekend, suffered its fourth straight SEC loss.

Powell was 3-for-5, adding a pair of singles. Brendan Winn was 3-for-4, including a three-run homer in the 6th that gave USC a 4-1 lead before Florida rallied to tie the game with a single run in the 7th and two more in the 8th.

Davy Gregg was 3-for-5 with two bunt singles.

Freshman Arik Hempy was the winning pitcher. He allowed only one hit and struckout four in 2-1/3 innings after coming on for an ineffective Chad Blackwell in the 8th.

USC starter Billy Buckner (7.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 7 K) enjoyed his best outing since striking out 16 against Clemson over a month ago.

Buckner sailed through the 1st thanks in part to some good glovework by second baseman Tommy King, who has an admirable job filling in for the injured Kevin Melillo.

King dove to his right to snare a hard grounder and threw to first to get the UF runner.

Buckner made it six in a row to start the contest with a somewhat methodical 2nd (X-9, F-8, K). USC got on the board in the bottom of the second when Michael Campbell homered to right-center, giving USC a 1-0 lead.

Brendan Winn followed with a double down the third base line. He advanced to third on a groundout to first by Ryan Mahoney but was stranded when Hank Parks bounced out to short.

UF had its first baserunner with two outs in the 3rd when Triplett booted a grounder at short. After a hit batter, Buckner struckout UF's No. 2 batter to retire the side and preserve the slim lead.

With two outs in the bottom of the 3rd, Gregg ricocheted a liner off UF pitcher Tommy Boss for his second infield single of the night. Pearce popped to short for the final out.

UF's Ben Harrison led off the Gators 4th with a line drive homer to left, tying the score at 1-1. After a single and groundout moved the UF runner to second with one out, a pair of strikeouts by Buckner prevented the Gators from taking the lead.

Powell led off the USC 4th with a single up the middle. Campbell slapped a single to right to give the Gamecocks runners at first and second with no outs.

However the Gamecocks wasted a good opportunity to take the lead when Winn struckout swinging and Mahoney bounced into a inning-ending 4-6-3 doubleplay.

After both sides were retired in order in the 5th, UF got a two-out single in the 6th, the Gators' third hit of the evening, before a flyout to the edge of the warning track ended the inning.

A healthy dose of two-out lightning by USC in the 6th gave the Gamecocks a three-run lead. Landon Powell singled to right with two outs in the 6th for his second hit of the game. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a pitching change by UF, Campbell walked.

Winn brought the near capacity crowd to its feet with a towering three-run homer to left, his second extra-base hit of the game. The blast gave USC a 4-1 lead.

After Ryan Mahoney walked, UF made another pitching change, this time bringing in submariner Connor Falkenbach. Parks struckout swinging to end the uprising.

The Gators sliced the lead to 4-2 with a run in the 7th on a single, sacrifice bunt, wild pitch, and sacrifice fly to left.

Gregg recorded his third hit of the game, second via the bunt, with a pop bunt over the pitchers mound in the 7th. He advanced to third when the throw to second on a stolen base attempt sailed into centerfield.

Pearce, though, struckout to end the inning.

UF had the top of the order due in the 8th against USC closer Chad Blackwell. It didn't take long for the Gators to tie the score.

After a single to right, UF's Jeff Corsaletti hit a mammoth homer to right that reached the trees beyond the fence in right.

After a pair of flyouts, a wild pitch, and a visit to the mound by USC head coach Ray Tanner, Blackwell loaded the bases with a pair of walks. That was enough for Tanner, who replaced Blackwell with Hempy.

Hempy went to a full count on his first batter before getting a called strike three after a couple of foul balls had the crowd nervously chewing its nails.

Winn collected his third hit of the night when he lined a two-out single to right in the bottom of the 8th. Mahoney bounced into a 5-4 fielder's choice to end the inning.

After surrendering an infield single in the 9th, Hempy turned on the gas, striking out the next two hitters. A foul out to Parks near the stands down the first base line ended the inning.

Tommy King singled to center with one out in the bottom of the 9th. But Triplett grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing to end the inning.

Hempy dominated the Gators in the 10th, retiring UF in order on a fly to center, popup, and strikeout.

With two down in the bottom of the 10th, Powell got ahead in the count, 3-1, before driving a fastball to deep centerfield. The ball appeared to carom off the "green monster" portion of the centerfield wall and rebound back onto the field of play. The first base umpire immediately signaled homerun.

Florida disagreed and chased the umpires off the field, vehemently arguing the ball had hit the top of the wall. However, after a brief conference with the Gator coaches, the call stood and USC had the victory.

NOTES: USC and UF only played twice prior to 1992 when the Gamecocks joined the SEC. USC now leads to all-time series, 23-18. . .This was the first Friday SEC victory this season for USC. . .Friday marked USC's third extra-inning game of the season. USC is 2-1 in extra-inning games. . .USC is 6-4 against Top 25 teams. . .USC is 19-2 at Sarge Frye Field. . .USC is 23-2 when allowing five runs or less. . .Davy Gregg tied his career high with three hits Friday, all singles. . .Both Kevin Melillo and Steven Tolleson are expected to miss at least two more weeks of action due to injuries. Melillo had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist. Tolleson had arthroscopic surgery on his knee. . .USC is 6th in the Baseball America poll and 9th in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week. . .UF shortstop Justin Tordi had 10 assists Friday. He tied for the second most assists ever by a UF player in one game. . .Arik Hempy picked up his first career victory. Hempy's matched his longest career outing with 2-1/3 IP. He went that distance v. Yale 3/10 and v. LSU 3/20. . .USC is 3-1 in one-run games this season. UF is 7-2 in one-run games.

FLA – 000 100 120 0 = 4-8-1 USC – 010 003 000 1 = 5-12-1

WP-Arik Hempy (1-1) LP-Connor Falkenbach (5-2) Save-None. HR-USC, Campbell (2nd, none on), Landon Powell (10th, none on); UF, Ben Harrison (4th, none on), Jeff Corsaletti (8th, one on). Time: 2:42. A-4,827

Next Game: Sat. 4/10 v. Florida, 3:00 p.m.

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