Gamecocks fight back for 6-5 win over PC

South Carolina must be getting use to rallying as the Gamecocks overcame an early 1-0 deficit to take a 6-5 decision from Presbyterian at Carolina Stadium. For USC it was their fifth straight game of being down of which they've now won four of the five. For more details, continue reading below.

Comeback, thy name is South Carolina baseball.

After Presbyterian right fielder Jesse Harmon blasted a solo home run to the shuttle buses in right center, the Gamecocks respond with a Nick Ebert three-run homer and stave off a Blue Hose comeback to earn the win 6-5.

"They're a good ball club," Ebert said. "Their pitching is what kept them in the game. A couple of their guys can swing it. That big home run there that put them ahead was big for them. They're a good team. Give them credit, it was a fight. "

Following a relatively easy start to the season against Duquesne, anything but easy has been Carolina's outlook. A grind out 2-0 win over Georgia State and comeback wins over Charleston Southern and Long Beach State have put plenty of excitement in the new Carolina Stadium.

But on Monday, Presbyterian (2-9) came with its best game against No. 17 USC (9-1) as right hander Garrett Moore did his best to keep the Gamecock hitters at bay. In over four innings of work, Moore allowed four runs on four hits while facing 21 batters. Though he did issue three walks in the first two innings, Moore also struck out three as Carolina failed to scratch a run.

"He impressed me. His stuff was good tonight. He was pitching both sides of the plate, he got his changeup in the zone and he got his breaking ball over when he needed to," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "I knew he was going to give us fits and he did. He was outstanding. He put PC in a position to win that game."

South Carolina starter Will Casey answered the call by sitting down seven of the first eight batters he faced before giving up the solo shot to Harmon in the third.

The Blue Hose could only enjoy the lead for a moment as Whit Merrifield reached base on a single and Jackie Bradley Jr. put the go-ahead run on with a walk. After a DeAngelo Mack strikeout, Ebert stepped into the batter's box and took a ball to dead center field for his fourth home run in the last five games.

"He started me off with a hanging curve ball, hung it and I knew, I thought to myself, he hangs me again I'm going to hit it," Ebert said. "That was a good shot. I didn't know if I had all of it or not but I hit it pretty well."

USC pushed its advantage to 4-1 as Kyle Enders and Bobby Haney hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth.

The fifth inning proved to be the trouble spot for USC as Tanner shifted the lineup drastically from the start of the game. To open the game, Carolina had Merrifield at third, Parker Bangs in right and Andrew Crisp at second. The team shifted back to the Crisp at third, Merrifield in center and Scott Wingo at second lineup they normally play in the top half of the inning.

After a leadoff single by Nate Horton, Crisp booted a hot shot towards short for an error and followed that with an arrant toss wide of bag at first for his second error of the inning allowing two runners to cross the plate. After a bunt single by Harmon, Presbyterian tied the game at 4-4 with a sac fly form Cory Lyda.

The damage didn't end there as PC's Kenny Bryant took a 2-0 pitch from reliever Justin Hopper over the wall in the first at-bat of the sixth inning giving the visiting Blue Hose a 5-4 lead.

That's when the Gamecocks went into small ball mode for the rally. Merrifield's lead off single was followed by a Bradley bunt single to put two on. Mack then moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Ebert would knot the game up again as he tallied his fourth RBI of the night on a sac fly. The Gamecocks took the lead for good on the next batter, as Jeffery Jones notched his only hit of the night, an RBI single, to give USC a 6-5 lead.

Reliever Michael Roth would take care of the rest as he pitched three innings of shutout baseball to secure his first win of the season.

"They didn't really tell me anything. They just told me to hold them. So that's what I was in there to do," Roth said. "I'm kind of a mid-week starter guy, long relief type of guy so they figured I'd get a few innings and they let me go the distance."

The win is the second straight game between USC and PC that has been decided by one run. Tanner explains the close margin in recent years to strong improvement by the Blue Hose under coach Elton Pollock and the fact that it is baseball.

"I think you explain it by it's baseball. It's just the way it is. It's a great game. Anybody can beat anybody at any given time. They played us great last year. I think we beat them in a 2-1 affair last year," Tanner said. "We had to get a couple big hits. They made some plays on us, made some pitches, we gave them a couple of unearned runs. It was their game and we were able to come back and win."

NOTES:

-USC has now hit a home run in each of their first 10 games.

-PC coach Elton Pollock holds the distinction of being the first coach tossed from Carolina Stadium as he was ejected in the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes.

-Kyle Enders double in the third was his first hit of the year. Scott Wingo also got his second hit of the season on a single in the ninth.

-The four RBIs for Nick Ebert are a career high and the highest total by a Gamecock player this season.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories