IN-COCK-CEIVABLE!

In what is expected to be the last regular season game ever played at Sarge Frye Field, the Gamecocks pulled off a comeback of epic proportions on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 14-13 in a game that will not soon be forgotten by the garnet and black clad faithful.


Trailing the lowly Bulldogs by 11 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning, fans began pouring out of The Sarge like smoke from a California wildfire. Initially 5,613 fans in attendance, there must have been only 3,000 left heading to the seventh inning. Those fans will never leave a game early again. Only while arriving home, did they probably hear the news. The Gamecocks won 14-13.

"I'm so proud. It's a great way to go into the tournament. Forty wins in a college season when you only play 56 is pretty good," said a relieved Gamecock Head Coach Ray Tanner, "I'm proud of these guys."

Winning their 40th game on Saturday marks the eighth year in a row that Tanner and his Gamecocks have reached the esteemed plateau.

Georgia came out ready to win the last two games of the regular season on the road against a nationally ranked and highly respected team. Unfortunately, they were in Columbia facing the Gamecocks. With four first inning runs, the Bulldogs singled their way onto the bases, with the biggest blow coming by left fielder Travis Parrott.

Blake Cooper, the dynamic freshman who's contributed so much this season, was drilled by the Georgia bats for seven earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched. His day ended after a single followed by two more walks brought Travis Parrott to the plate again with the bases loaded. Again, he doubled deep in the hole to clear the bases. Parrott had nine runs batted in all season and six by the third inning this afternoon.

Before today Georgia ranked last in the SEC with the bases loaded, hitting a measly .213. However, by the sixth inning, they had scored all thirteen runs with the bases loaded and were 4-for-7.

Jeff Jeffords came on in relief and shut down the Georgia offense immediately. Striking out five through 2.2 innings of work, and not allowing a hit, Jeffords stopped the bleeding hoping a stagnant Gamecock offense could rally. They would rally, but only after Jeffords allowed six more Bulldog runs to score in a nightmarish sixth inning.

Going to the bottom of the sixth, the Gamecocks were trailing 13-2. Nobody would have ever guessed what was coming next. With two runs scoring on an Andrew Crisp home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth, the score was still a seemingly insurmountable 13-4.

Chipping away, the Gamecocks scored one more in the seventh, setting the stage for what Tom Price called, "the greatest comeback I can remember."

Even Coach Tanner was in shock, but started thinking with each hit, "Ya' get a hit and you think, ‘Well, we're still not even in grand slam range,' ya' get another hit, ‘Well we're still not in grand slam range' and then finally you say, ‘Well we're in grand slam distance now' and you just get a couple hits from there."

Andrew Crisp started the inning with a single. Cheyne Hurst would double down the line, followed by a Robbie Grinestaff pinch hit single. With the top of the order coming up and no outs, there seemed to be a brief "what if" float through the stadium. Walks to Travis Jones and James Darnell brought All-American Justin Smoak to the plate.

With the bases loaded and three runs in, the score was now an amazing 13-8. Smoak doubled down the line driving in two, only to be followed up by a Phil Disher double, a Kyle Enders double and a Harley Lail sacrifice attempt that was mishandled by Georgia first baseman Rich Poythress. With the score now all tied at 13 and still no outs in the inning, Andrew Crisp flied out to make the first out.

"We just talked about staying in the game, not laying down, just try to scratch a few together and make it not so embarrassing," said Disher, "but considering we came back from that big a deficit, that's a big win."

With Lail stealing second base, Hurst hit the Gamecocks' fifth double of the inning to complete the comeback and put USC in the lead for good at 14-13.

"I think when we started the inning with three hits in a row, it seemed like something big was gonna' happen," said Hurst, "When we got the three doubles, then it really started sinking in that we had something going."

As the remaining fans stomped and screamed throughout Sarge Frye Field, none other than Harris Honeycutt started warming up in the bullpen.

Poetic justice, maybe, but Honeycutt looked incredible as he sailed through the ninth inning on ten pitches while striking out the side. After one roller coaster of a regular season, Honeycutt nailed down his first save as a Gamecock.

About his first career save, Honeycutt said, "It feels great. I'm sure the clubhouse is gonna' be crazy. I just didn't want to mess up what we had done that inning."



Caption: The victorious Gamecocks celebrate after their comeback win over Georgia on Saturday afternoon.


Coach Tanner summed it up with, "I'm happy that the last (regular season game) at the Sarge was one for the books."

The Gamecocks will now face Florida Wednesday in the SEC Tournament in the second game scheduled to start at 2 p.m. eastern time. Coach Tanner said Harris Honeycutt or Mike Cisco could start Game 1 Wednesday and Arik Hempy would probably go Thursday.

PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Phil Disher – "Dish" was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three runs batted in. He doubled three times on the day and seemed the only one who was awake for the first few innings. He also tied a school record with three doubles in the same game. Quite a record, he's tied with 19 other Gamecocks, the last being Reese Havens who accomplished the feat earlier this season. After the game, asked about his three double day, Disher smiled and said, "I don't think I've had three doubles in a game in my life."

TURNING POINT:

Justin Smoak's double in the eighth really seemed the point where everyone in attendance got truly excited. The team fed off the moment and followed it up with three more doubles while tearing through four Georgia pitchers.

OTHER BIG DAYS AT THE PLATE:

Harley Lail was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Andrew Crisp was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three driven in. Pinch hitter Cheyne Hurst was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two runs batted in.

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