Gamecocks go into extras for 2-1 win

The South Carolina baseball team waded through rain and extra innings on Wednesday but were able to come away with a 2-1 win over Georgia Southern in their second mid-week game against a Southern Conference opponent. The win, which came on a DeAngelo Mack single in the 10th inning, improves USC to 16-6 on the year.

DeAngelo Mack had felt the rain. He'd seen the less than stellar crowd. He'd waited through the starting time delay and he was watching the game between South Carolina and Georgia Southern go into extra innings.

So with Jackie Bradley Jr. standing on second base, he figured it was time to go home. Mack's RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning allowed the Gamecocks to eek out a win over Georgia Southern by 2-1 margin.

"It was getting a little wet out there. It was time to go home," Mack said of the game that was delayed a half hour due to light rains. "The game was going on for quite a while and I'm pretty sure everybody was ready to go home, including myself, so I was happy to get a hit and get on out of there."

In their second straight day of facing the best of the Southern Conference, the Gamecocks (16-6) found themselves in an unlikely situation as intermittent rain didn't turn the game into a mistake filled game of last man standing.

Instead the two teams became locked into a pitcher's duel as Georgia Southern starter Jake Brown had seven innings of work with just five hits and one run. USC starter Michael Roth only lasted two innings and did give up the Eagles only run of the night, but he wasn't pulled for a bad performance.

With the sub par conditions, USC coach Ray Tanner ventured to his bullpen for what he called a "power arm." What he got was Matt Price. In his longest outing since high school, the true freshman tossed seven innings of shutout baseball and allowed just three its while striking out four.

"Matt was very special tonight, no doubt about it, against a good club. And he gave us everything he had so it was an outstanding pitching performance," Tanner said.

The Eagles (17-5) took a 1-0 lead in the second as leadoff hitter Kevin Bowles notched an RBI single following two hits and a sacrifice bunt from previous batters. Carolina tied the game in the third as Whit Merrifield grounded out to third and allowed Bobby Haney to cross home plate.

That would be all the offense for either team both Brown and Price cruised through middle innings. On the night, Brown struck out six Gamecock batters while issuing just one walk. "He just kept us off balance. He threw really well. He didn't throw quite as hard as most of the pitchers that we saw but he knew how to pitch," Mack said of Brown. "I tip my hat off to him for keeping us off balance."

After two quick outs in the ninth, Scott Wingo dug into the box after coming on in relief of Casey Rihn at second base. Though entered the game with a .163 average, Wingo notched a hard hit ball to left and hustled into second base for a double that put Carolina in scoring position. However with Haney at the plate, Wingo was gunned down trying to steal third, sending the Gamecocks into their first extra inning game of the season.

Reliever Alex Farotto came on in the top of the tenth in place of Price and, though he did hit the second batter he faced, got the other three players to ground out across the infield.

Haney popped out to short to start the bottom of the tenth and was followed by a leadoff single from Bradley Jr. and a walk to Merrifield. After Nick Ebert popped up in foul territory to first, Mack came up and with 1-2 count delivered a hard hit ball in between a first and second.

Though he hasn't hit a home run since Davidson, Tanner is impressed with the junior's composure at the plate.

"He showed you a little bit of maturity as a hitter," Tanner said. "That's really the way you evaluate players is what they do in situations when really they're down in the count and they can use the whole field no matter if they're a power hitter or not."


-Wednesday's game was just the second time all season the Gamecocks have not had a single home run.

-USC pitcher Brandon Miller took a foul ball shot into the dugout during Whit Merrifield's at-bat in the eighth inning. The ball ricocheted off of his arm and struck him in the temple causing a concussion. Tanner said Miller was with physicians and will be available in this weekends series against Kentucky if doctors say he can go.

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