After having Tuesday's game against Gardner-Webb rained out, South Carolina could not have asked for much nicer weather on Wednesday. A crowd of 4,373 turned out to see a rematch of opponents from the 2007 NCAA Regionals. There was little contest between the two teams on this day, however.
"We knew how good they were," said Ray Tanner. "It wasn't one of those deals where they slipped up on us. They outplayed us in every facet of the game today. They took us out behind the woodshed."
In the second inning, Carolina got on the board first, when Phil Disher blasted the first pitch he saw out of the park. Four batters later, the Gamecocks had the bases loaded with one out, and the top of the order at the plate. In a sign of things to come, the Carolina bats failed to capitalize. Reese Havens struck out, bringing freshman Scott Wingo to the plate. Wingo stayed patient, and drew a walk, scoring Kyle Enders. The inning ended when James Darnell struck out in the next at bat, leaving the Gamecocks with a 2-0 lead.
The 49ers responded in the 4th inning. Cory Tilton singled, and Brad McElroy drew a walk, setting the stage for Chris Taylor. Taylor hit a line drive homer over the centerfield wall to put Charlotte ahead for good.
"I made a mistake, and he did what a good hitter does with a mistake," Godwin said of the home run. "I left a fastball up and over the plate. I felt like I had pretty decent stuff, and then I walked a guy, which always comes back to haunt you, and left one over the plate, and it was three runs."
The Gamecocks tried to answer in the bottom of the inning, once again loading the bases with one out. Again, Darnell came to the plate, and just like the first time, he struck out. Justin Smoak still had a chance to capitalize for Carolina, but he hit a week groundball to third for the final out of the inning.
"We had some scoring opportunities when we were up 2-0 and we didn't capitalize and it came back to haunt us," Tanner said. "I don't know if we would have gotten enough [runs] anyway. That's a situation where you've got to get more runs on the board.
Charlotte added some breathing room in the 6th inning, and again in the 8th. Aaron Bray hit a leadoff double, and Tilton followed that with a walk to chase Nick Godwin from the game. Alex Farotto came in from the bullpen, but surrendered an RBI double to McElroy and RBI singles to Taylor and Shayne Moody for another three-run 49er inning that effectively put the game out of reach. Charlotte added another run in the 8th inning, and four runs in the 9th to complete the scoring.
Tanner refused to let his players say they suffered a letdown after the big weekend sweep over Clemson.
"All that is is an excuse," he said. "We discussed being ready to play today. There aren't any excuses, they took us out behind the woodshed and were the better team today."
- Reese Havens, who went 3-5 on the day, has hit safely in every game this year and is batting .517.
- Making his second start of the year, Andrew Crisp got his first hit in the 2nd inning. He got another hit in the 8th inning.
- For the game, Carolina left 13 runners on base, compared to only 4 for Charlotte.
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