Big inning, Brown bail out Dyson

It didn't look good initially for the Gamecocks in game 2 of the doubleheader against Brown on Saturday, as Sam Dyson got off to a brutal start, allowing 6 earned runs on 7 hits in just 4 innings. However, after falling behind 6-2, USC brought out the big sticks, scoring 7 runs in the 4th to pull ahead. Jay Brown pitched 4-plus innings of 1 run relief to get the win by a 10-7 margin.

Sam Dyson came into the game with a 1-0 record, and after a good start, ran into trouble, allowing 6 runs over the next 2 innings. Two home runs did a lot of the damage, with Mike DiBiase hitting a 2-run shot in the 3rd and Josh Feit adding his own 2-run homer in the 4th.

"He had a bad day," said Tanner after the game. "I don't want to make excuses for him; I know he wouldn't make excuses if he was in here. Brown can hit fastballs, that's the scouting report. And they did, and they squared them up pretty good. He got hit around."

After going hitless for the first time in 27 games in game 1 of the doubleheader, Whit Merrifield quickly tried to atone for his first hitless game of the year. In the bottom of the 3rd Merrifield took Brown starter Will Weidig deep to right for his 3rd home run of the year. The big fly cut the Bears lead to 3-2 heading into the top of the 4th.

Merrifield said after the game it was good to hit the home run in a big spot for the team. "It was a hit and run, and they threw the curveball up and I was just trying to get the barrel to it," added Merrifield. "The ball was carrying pretty well today and it got up in the jet stream a little bit and took off. It was a good moment for us today."

One big inning was all it took for the Gamecocks to forget about Dyson's rough effort and take a 9-6 lead over the Bears. USC batted around in the 4th, scoring 7 runs on 6 hits. Brady Thomas got things started with a single, before Matthews and Beary had a double and triple, respectively.

After Christian Walker contributed a sac fly, Scott Wingo walked and the Gamecocks reeled off three consecutive hits to continue the scoring. Jay Brown came in the game to relieve Sam Dyson in the 5th, and was able to register a quick scoreless inning. Brown would continue his work over the next several innings, limiting Brown to just the 1 earned run and contributing 4 strikeouts.

"They scored a few runs early and I tried to go in there and hold them down as much as I could," said Brown. "They were putting some good swings, the scouting report says they're a good offensive team and you've got to make your pitches to get them out, if not they're going to put a good swing on the ball."

Coach Tanner was also complimentary of his senior right-hander after the game.

"That was the only chance we had to win that game was to get a starter performance out of the bullpen, and Jay was really good today," said Tanner. "He was able to get his changeup over, his breaking ball, slipped some fastballs in there at times. We dug ourselves a hole, Dyson wasn't real sharp and they hit him around, and he had some innings left but we were going to have to have a good performance out of the bullpen and Jay Brown stepped up big for us."

The Gamecocks weren't able to get a run across in the 5th, with Robert Beary advancing to third but getting caught in a run down, and Whit Merrifield striking out with 2 runners on to end the inning. However, the inning wasn't without excitement as Scott Wingo set the career mark for hit by pitches, registering his 35th and breaking the record held by former Gamecocks Garris Gonce and Michael Campbell.

The Bears were able to trim the Carolina lead to 2 runs on a Pete Greskoff home run in the 7th, his first of the year.

However, the Gamecocks were quickly able to get the run back on some unconventional baserunning in the bottom of the inning. With 2 outs and Brady Thomas on third base, Christian Walker stole second base. Brown tried to throw home but Thomas slid in safe, and Walker advanced to third on an error by the shortstop.

Three SC pitchers combined their efforts in the last inning to retire the Bears. Jay Brown got a groundout to start the inning but left after giving up a single to Daniel Rosoff. Parker Bangs was called in to face Greskoff, who had homered in his last at bat, and got a strikeout. Finally, Michael Roth was called in to face pinch hitter Joe Mellano, inducing the 5-3 groundout. Roth was credited with the save in recording the last out.

It was a strong offensive effort over both games of the doubleheader for USC as they combined for 18 runs on 22 hits. In game 2 it was Merrifield that led the way, with 2 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBI's. Wingo also scored 2 runs in addition to breaking the hit by pitch record. Morales, Ebert, Matthews, Beary, and Walker each contributed 1 RBI.

Scott Wingo had a good day at the plate despite not getting any hits, as he walked 5 times and was hit by a pitch on the afternoon.

Brown held their own in the two games as well, scoring 11 runs and getting good pitching performances from players like Brad Kottman and Kevin Carlow.

"Brown has a good team," asserted Tanner. "I told our guys prior to the game today that this team could win the Ivy League, this is a team that will probably end up in the postseason. We (had) to play well here at home, and both games were hard for us, but we were able to win."

Jackie Bradley Jr. was injured sliding into second base on a steal attempt in the 3rd inning, and had to receive stitches in his hand. Tanner said that he was out "indefinitely."

The Gamecocks will return tomorrow to close out the series against Brown with a 1:30 first pitch scheduled. Tyler Webb will get the start for USC, while Brown will counter with Columbia native Rob Wilcox.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories