June 4, 2010

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CBI Live
Lumber slumbers early, thunders late for Gamecocks

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The bats were quiet early, but exploded late.


Jackie Bradley Jr. had a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Gamecocks their first lead as top-seeded South Carolina rallied past fourth-seeded Bucknell 9-5 Friday evening in the second game of the Columbia Regional in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 6,712 fans at Carolina Stadium.


The Gamecocks (44-15) will meet third-seeded The Citadel at 7 p.m. Saturday evening. The Bison (25-34) will battle second-seeded Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. in an elimination contest.


South Carolina was listless through the first five innings, stranding eight and trailing 5-1 in the sixth.


“They did a nice job on the mound early,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “We got some hits but no runs. We kept playing and kept fighting and found a way to get a win. We are happy to be able to survive and advance.”


Evan Marzilli awoke the stadium with a two-run homer, his third, with two outs to pull USC to within two.


The Gamecocks loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh on a bunt, a walk and a bunt. Robert Berry’s sacrifice fly made it a one-run contest at 5-4.


Doug Shribman looked like he was going to have a leadoff double to start the eighth for Bucknell, but a fine running catch by Berry into the right field corner helped keep the Bison off the board.


Whit Merrifield drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth and Bradley’s blast gave USC its first lead at 6-5.


“When I first hit it, I did not think it was out of here,” Bradley said. “But when I saw it start to carry and the ball got to its peak, I know I got pretty much all of it.”


A walk and a hit batsman set the table for Adrian Morales, whose three-run bomb gave the Gamecocks some insurance.


Michael Roth (1-1) got two strikeouts and a groundout in the ninth to secure the victory. Roth was outstanding in relief, pitching 3.1 hitless innings with no walks and five strikeouts.


Bucknell started the scoring in the top of the fourth as Ben Yoder yanked one out to left for his 11th dinger of the season. Andrew Brouse was hit by a pitch and, with a 1-2 count on Doug Shribman, the game was halted for one hour and nine minutes for rain and lightning. When play resumed, Brouse stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and came in on an error to give the Bison a 2-0 advantage.


Bob Donato had a RBI double and Drew Constable added a run-scoring single in a three-run sixth as Bucknell built its 5-1 lead. The Bison knocked out USC starter Sam Dyson (5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 87 P).


“I’m proud of the way our team competed tonight,” said Bucknell head coach Gene Depew. “I think we came out and played very well, at least through the first eight innings in the game. We had timely hits early that produced some runs.”


Morales finished with three hits, two runs and three RBI. Adam Matthews had two hits and two runs for USC.


Brouse finished with two hits and two runs for the Bison. Dylan Seeley got the start and went 5.2 innings for Bucknell with nine hits, three runs, all earned, two walks and two strikeouts. He left with a 5-3 lead.