Game 1: Dawgs Take Pitching Classic 1-0

In a gem of a pitching battle that it was a shame anybody had to lose, Georgia took a 1-0 victory over the Gamecocks in the first of an SEC double-header. USC starter Mike Cisco held Georgia scoreless through eight innings, but reliever Parker Bangs gave up the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Olson scored Adam Fuller on a two out RBI.

The last time South Carolina and Georgia faced off at Foley Field in Athens in the first of a three game series, the Gamecocks hit five straight home runs in a 15-6 win in the 2006 NCAA Super Regionals.

It was a different kind of baseball drama on Saturday, as both teams went into the ninth inning scoreless in a classic pitching duel between Carolina's Mike Cisco and Georgia right-hander Trevor Holder.

In the bottom of the ninth with the game still scoreless, Parker Bangs replaced starter Mike Cisco and hit Georgia's Adam Fuller with a pitch to put the winning run on board. Fuller advanced to second on a sac fly by Michael Demperio. After Ryan Peisel flied out to center field, Matt Olson faced a 0-2 count, and the Georgia right fielder delivered with a RBI base hit into right field that got just past a diving Andrew Crisp, and the Bulldogs won in dramatic fashion, 1-0.

South Carolina skipper Ray Tanner was stoic after the game. "It was a great college baseball game. We made a couple mistakes at the end, and they capitalized. We can't do those things and win the game. Cisco He battled his heart out. It was a great game by Holder and Cisco. It was a well pitched game by both guys. Both teams got some competitive at-bats, until that last inning, nobody pitched anything across."

Cisco faced 34 batters in his eight complete innings, allowing six hits and no runs, striking out three. As good as the Carolina pitcher was, the Georgia pitching crew was better this day when it mattered. Holder pitched seven complete innings for the Bulldogs, allowing five hits while facing 27 batters, and struck out three as well.

Holder was replaced by Justin Earls for a scoreless eighth inning. Then Nick Montgomery faced one batter and after walking Drew Crisp, was replaced by Joshua Fields. The Georgia closer came into the game with a perfect 0.00 ERA, and kept it that way in the ninth inning. He hit Kyle Enders, the first batter he faced with a pitch. Crisp and Enders advanced to second and third respectively on a sac fly by Harley Lail, but Fields got DeAngelo Mack to strike out swinging, and after he intentionally walked Reese Havens, he struck out Whit Merrifield looking.

Fields picked up the win and is 1-1 on the year. Bangs suffered the loss and is 2-1 on the year. South Carolina drops to 20-8 and 6-4 in the SEC, while Georgia improves to 18-10 and 7-3 in the SEC. Game two of the doubleheader began at 7:14 pm.

In the first inning, Georgia loaded the bases with two outs, but Cisco got out of the jam by inducing Lyle Allen into a fielder's choice to end the inning. The Bulldogs again had runners on first and second in the third inning, and again Cisco was able to get out of trouble against Allen as the batter, this time by striking the left fielder out. Cisco played with fire all night and came out without getting burned. With runners on the corners in the fifth inning, Cisco got a groundout to short against Bryce Massanari. In the sixth inning, the junior right-hander from Mount Pleasant struck out Demperio to end that inning.

In the second, Carolina had runners on first and third with one out, only to see a double steal with Crisp and Kyle Enders stopped by the Bulldogs at home plate. Carolina also had runners on first and second in the fifth inning with two outs, only to have Holder get Merrifield to fly out. Justin Smoak doubled in the sixth inning off the left centerfield wall, just missing a home run. Holder got Disher to ground out to second, and struck out Drew Crisp swinging to end the USC threat.

Carolina hopes rose when Holder was replaced by Earls in the eighth, and with one out, Merrifield singled, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Darnell grounded out to second, but advanced Merrifield to third. After an intentional walk to Justin Smoak put runners on the corners, Earls got out of the inning with a pop up to himself against Phil Disher.

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