June 12, 2010
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – South Carolina’s baseball team (47-15) scored four runs in the first two innings and held on to defeat Coastal Carolina (55-9) by a 4-3 score in the first game of the 2010 Myrtle Beach NCAA Super Regional on Saturday, June 12, at BB&T Coastal Field. The Gamecocks and Chanticleers will square off again tomorrow in game two starting at 1 p.m.
Junior Matt Rein (7-1) started for Coastal and threw the first inning, but a collision at first base recording the first out of the game limited his outing to just a full inning of work. He allowed four runs (two earned) and two walks in his outing. The Coastal bullpen between six relievers pitched the last eight innings of scoreless relief with freshman Josh Conway working 2.2 innings. South Carolina’s Blake Cooper (12-1) worked into the eighth inning for the Gamecocks and allowed just six hits with five strikeouts and three runs allowed. Redshirt-freshman Matt Price was called upon and recorded three bases-loaded outs in the eighth inning and all three outs in the ninth for his ninth save of the season.
The Gamecocks broke through early and scored three in the first inning on one hit. Junior Whit Merrifield reached on a one-out throwing error from the Coastal pitcher. Sophomore Jackie Bradley Jr. walked and junior Adrian Morales was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Freshman Christian Walker followed with single to left to plate Merrifield and Bradley. Senior Kyle Enders drove in the final run of the frame with his one-out sacrifice fly to right field to score Morales.
South Carolina added a run to its lead in the second inning. Senior Bobby Haney reached on a lead off double to left. Junior Scott Wingo was hit by a Rein offering and freshman Evan Marzilli then walked to load the bases. A bases-loaded walk to Bradley scored Haney with the fourth South Carolina tally.
The Chanticleers answered with a two-spot in their half of the second. Sophomore Taylor Motter drew a two-out walk and scored on sophomore Daniel Bowman’s 14th home run of the season.
Coastal drew a run closer in the fourth inning. Redshirt-sophomore Tommy LaStella laced a lead off double, moved all the way to third on senior Jose Iglesias’ single up the middle and scored the team’s third run of the game on redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore’s bloop single down the left field line.
The Chanticleers threatened in the sixth inning and loaded the bases with one-out, but an inning ending double play off the bat of Bowman ricocheted off Cooper to Wingo at second base, who threw to first to end the potential scoring chance for Coastal.
The Chants again threatened in the eighth inning and loaded the bases with no one out. Junior Rico Noel led off the frame with a single and moved to second and then third on back-to-back walks to LaStella and Iglesias. Price was then brought in relief for the Gamecocks and he recorded back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out to allow South Carolina to escape the inning unscathed and keep the one-run advantage.
Coastal made the ninth inning exciting. Rice coaxed a walk, moved to second on Noel’s infield single but a fly out to center ended the game.
Noel and Gilmore both had two hits for Coastal. Bradley and Walker both tallied a pair of hits for the Gamecocks.
Coastal will take on South Carolina in the second game of the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 13.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore
On pitching strategy:
“It was basically do what we thought best to match up. Anthony Meo didn’t eat for two days during the week and I felt like he was out of gas. We thought if we could get to the fifth inning with Matt Rein, then we could do exactly what we did all game long, mix and match and if we got late in the game, go to Anthony for 30-35 pitches. It was what it was. We had chances, multiple chances, and didn’t get it done.”
On eighth inning:
“Obviously, the scouting report we had on Matt Price was definitely not the Mr. Price I saw today. It’s not that the scouting report wasn’t any good, but I know he was throwing a lot harder than we anticipated him to be throwing. He got strikeouts when he needed it and I rolled the dice and thought we would put the ball in play.”
Coastal Carolina rightfielder Daniel Bowman
On the double play in the sixth:
“No, I don’t think it took anything out of us. Obviously, we kept fighting. I felt like I hit the ball hard, but of all the places it could have gone, it went right to second base. I am disappointed about it, but I will try to come back and play tomorrow.”
Coastal Carolina pitcher Josh Conway
On playing with their backs against the wall:
“That is just the way baseball is, having your back to the wall. Last week, we played real well when adversity set in and I think we are going to come out tomorrow and play like we did last weekend.”
South Carolina Head Coach Ray Tanner
“When that game ended I talked to Coach Gilmore for a second and the response was wow. It was an incredible ball game; so much was going on in that ball game. It was an incredible game. They have a tremendous team and our guys battled hard. The situation we put Matt Price in, for him to get out of that you have to be Houdini to get out of that. Blake Cooper pitched his heart out, Wingo made a big play, so much just happened in that game. It certainly will be another battle tomorrow.”
“It was a great start. We had a drop ball and a couple walks, but other than a two run single there wasn’t much offense from us in there. We had other opportunities, we needed everything. It was a great college baseball game and I’m grateful for our fans. They worked hard to support us and they made sure they knew we were there and our guys appreciated that.”
What to do in preparation for Sunday
“I play the game back and play it forward. I took a walk last night past curfew. You try to figure it, you never do, but you try to figure it out. You try to be in the best position we can be and try to be prepared for all the scenarios that may come.”
“He has been pretty good for us throughout the season and special during some other times too, but he was really special today. They took some good hacks at him and he made some good pitches, and got some balls passed with some movement, which is tough to do against their team; they’re outstanding offensively.”
South Carolina relief pitcher Matt Price
After the 8th
“I was a little pumped, but I knew I had to go back out there for one more inning to get the job done.”
“The first batter I tried to spot up with my fastball and threw him a slider and I got him on a K. The next batter I used I’d say five sliders and I got him on a slider outside. The next batter hit it right back at me and I got it to first.”
“I like pitching off of adrenaline, it gets you pumped. You go out there to throw as hard as you can and that’s what I do.”
We wanted to go out there and fight; we fight every inning, every at-bat and every pitch. I was amped and everyone was amped.”
South Carolina starting pitcher Blake Cooper
On his day:
“I have to give credit to their guys. I see why they bat .320 .330. They battle with two strikes and they don’t swing at many bad pitches. I just threw one bad pitch to him and he hit it out. As a starting pitcher, you want to come out of that phase and you just want to stay strong throughout the game.”
South Carolina second baseman Scott Wingo
On the falling double play
“I broke off the middle; luckily he tipped it off his glove or something. I just kind of waited for it to get off the bag and waited a little bit and I threw it.”