.... in losing, 6-1, to the Ole Miss Rebels in the second game of a key three-game SEC series. The defeat dropped USC back to the .500 mark in conference play. Sunday's series finale starts at 12 Noon.
May Day, traditionally the first day of the month of May, is universally celebrated around the world as International Workers Day.
Seemingly in honor of the holiday, the South Carolina bats decided to take the day off.
USC, which came into the game as the second best hitting club in the SEC with a .321 team batting average, managed only four hits, one for extra bases, in dropping a 6-1 decision to the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday afternoon before 3,615 fans at Sarge Frye Field.
The final contest of the three-game series will be Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
The loss dropped USC (32-12 overall) back to the .500 mark in conference play at 10-10, and into sole possession of fourth place in the SEC East. Florida (13-7 SEC ) and Georgia (11-9 SEC) both won Saturday. Tennessee (11-8 SEC) played at Arkansas Saturday night.
Little went right for the Gamecocks in this one. After becoming the first USC pitcher in 39 years to hurl a complete game extra-inning shutout last weekend, Matt Campbell was roughed up for 11 hits and six runs in 7.0 innings.
The star of the game was Ole Miss lefthanded pitcher Stephen Head, who hurled a complete game and smacked a solo homer to help his cause.
After Campbell cruised through the first, he surrendered a leadoff homer in the top of the 2nd to Head, the cleanup hitter for the Rebels.
A one-out single and wild pitch put a runner in scoring position for the Rebels. A groundout to third failed to advance the runner. Campbell got out of the inning on a weird play. After fielding a slow roller near first base, Campbell had no play at first. However, the Rebel runner has rounded third too far and Campbell fired to Triplett, who applied the tag for the third out.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Pearce doubled to center with one out when his fly to straightaway center was botched by the Ole Miss centerfielder.
DH Hank Parks, who came in hitting a pedestrian .263, singled sharply to left to drive in Pearce and tie the score at 1-1. Gregg struckout and Melillo, one of Friday's heroes, popped to short.
Campbell allowed a leadoff double in the 3rd but wasn't fazed as he retired the next three batters on a pair of strikeouts and a foul out to Winn in right field.
Landon Powell walked with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd and rumbled into second with a stolen base when Winn swung and missed on a hit-and-run pitch. Winn struckout the end the inning.
Both clubs were retired in order in the 4th as Campbell and Head sustained their pitching duel into the middle innings.
The bottom third of the Ole Miss batting order combined for three consecutive singles to open the Rebel 5th. The third single, through the hole into left, scored the go-ahead run as Ole Miss took a 2-1 lead.
A bouncing single to right by the Ole Miss leadoff hitter on a hit-and-run play scored another run. The third run of the inning scored on a 4-6-3 double play. A strikeout ended the inning.
USC got the first two bases runners on in the bottom of the 5th when Davy Gregg walked and Melillo reached on a throwing error by the Ole Miss pitcher after he fielded a bunt and threw wide of the first base bag.
However, Tolleson popped out to the pitcher on a bunt attempt. Gregg was nearly doubled off second but got back to the bag just in time. Triplett bounced into a 5-4 forceout at second, putting runners on the corners with two outs.
Powell walked for the second time to load the bases for Winn, who had done little his first two times to the plate. Winn's troubles continued as he swung and missed on strike three.
Ole Miss again got the first two batters on base in the 6th with a hits batsman and a single to center. A flyout to right advanced the lead runner to third. A wild pitch that bounced in front of Powell moved the trailing runner to second.
Winn trapped a bloop single to right. The runners held their position, though, loading the bases. A charging Triplett couldn't handle a chopper toward third as the run scored to give Ole Miss a 5-1 lead. Campbell got out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout.
Parks walked with two outs in the bottom of the 6th but nothing came of it as Gregg grounded out to second.
Ole Miss got the lead runner on in the 7th for the fifth time in the game but didn't score. USC got a one-out single from Tolleson in the bottom of the 7th but couldn't score.
After Ole Miss added a run in the top of the 8th for a 6-1 lead, the Gamecocks went down in order in the bottom of the inning. The same thing happened in the bottom of the 9th as USC went down quietly to end the game.
NOTES: USC now leads the all-time series against Ole Miss, 17-10 . .USC is 25-6 at home this season. . .Saturday marked only the second time in nine games USC has allowed more than three runs. . .USC tied its season low with four hits Saturday. . .USC is now 15-5 in games decided by five or more runs. . .There will be a 3:20 curfew in effect for Sunday's 12:00 game. Ole Miss must fly back to Oxford Sunday night. . .USC is 8th in this week's Baseball America poll and 22nd in the Collegiate poll. The SEC has 7 teams among the top 23 in the Baseball America poll. . .There is no midweek game this week due to final exams. USC travels to Auburn next weekend. . .USC came into Saturday's game with a total of 70 homers in 42 games. . .USC has not announced a starting pitcher for Sunday's finale.
MIS – 010 031 010 = 6-15-1
USC - 010 000 000 = 1-4-2
WP-Stephen Head (6-1)
LP-Matt Campbell (6-3)
HR- Ole Miss, Stephen Head (2nd, 1 on).
Next Game: Sun. 5/2 v. Ole Miss, 12:00 Noon.
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