Ole Miss Pitchers Shut Down USC 5-2

The Gamecocks batters could not overcome the combined pitching mastery of Drew Pomeranz and Scott Bittle, who combined to limit South Carolina to just six hits on the afternoon. The Gamecocks left twelve men stranded on base, and that was the story of the ballgame as Ole Miss defeated South Carolina 5-2 in game two of their SEC baseball series. The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak for SC.

South Carolina ended the first inning with a man on third base. They ended the third with a man on second. They ended the fourth with men on first and third. They ended the fifth with a man on second. They ended the sixth with men on first and third. In the decisive inning of the game, USC ended the inning with the bases loaded, after having them loaded and only one out. And in the bottom of the eighth, they left a man on third. Twelve men left on base, eight of them in scoring position, and that was the ballgame.

Ray Tanner talked about the pitching performance of Ole Miss's Pomeranz and Bittle after the loss. "He had five run scoring opportunities with runners at third and less than two outs. We just weren't able to push them across. Our guys were up there battling, but Pomeranz made some pitches when he needed to and so did Bittle. We had some run scoring opportunities but credit Ole Miss and their pitching staff for making pitches when they needed to."

Ole Miss is now 25-14 and 10-7 in the SEC, and South Carolina drops to 28-11 and 10-7 in the conference. Sunday's rubber game is scheduled for 12 noon at Sarge Frye Field. A curfew is in effect due to travel as well with no inning allowed to start after 3:30 pm ET. Blake Cooper will make the start for the Gamecocks, while the Rebels Cody Satterwhite will take the mound for Ole Miss.

Pomeranz worked six-plus innings and allowed just one run on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks to pick up the victory. Bittle came on in relief in the seventh inning and lasted three innings to pick up the save. He allowed just one run on two hits while striking out five and walking three. It was his fourth save of the year.

Ole Miss had 12 hits to Carolina's six on the afternoon. Sean Stuyverson went 3-for-4 to lead the Rebels with Cody Overbeck and Fuller Smith also adding two hits apiece. Whit Merrifield was the lone Gamecock with a multi-hit game on the afternoon as he finished 2-for- with a RBI.

Trailing 3-0, Carolina tried rally in the bottom of the seventh inning loading the bases when Ole Miss gave up three consecutive walks to Justin Hopper, Scott Wingo and Reese Havens. Whit Merrifield laced an RBI single to right field off Bittle to score Hopper and bring the Gamecocks within two runs. But the rally ended with a putout at home plate on a fielder's choice from Justin Smoak, followed by strikeouts to James Darnell and Phil Disher that ended the inning.

Ole Miss added a run in the eighth and another in the ninth inning. South Carolina scored its final run in the ninth inning with Whit Merrifield crossing home plate on a RBI from Darnell.

USC starting pitcher Will Atwood had another solid performance on the mound for the Gamecocks in six complete innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out two batters. He worked his way out of trouble several times but still ended up taking the loss, dropping him to 4-2 on the season. He said, "They had a few balls that weren't hit very hard that dropped in for them, but that's part of the game."

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