Gamecocks back in first

Roth pitches eight innings to earn 10th victory

Special to The StateMay 6, 2011 

USC's Michael Roth delivers a pitch against Santa Clara during opening day for the Gamecocks at Carolina Stadium, Friday, February 18, 2011.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

OXFORD, Miss. | South Carolina starter Michael Roth continued his dominance of SEC foes on Friday night, allowing the Gamecocks to regain possession of first place in the SEC East.

Aided by sufficient run support, Roth led USC to a 6-1 victory against Mississippi at Oxford-University Stadium.

“We really had a good night offensively,” Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said. “We had double-digit hits, moved runners over, had a couple of two-out hits, and then Roth, other than the two innings, he was really special again.”

USC improved to 18-4 in the SEC to move a game ahead of Florida and Vanderbilt. Florida lost 5-3 to Arkansas on Friday, while Vanderbilt fell to Kentucky 2-0.

Roth gave up one run on six hits while striking out six and walking one in eight innings.

“He was able to mix (his pitches) a little bit. He stuck some fastballs when he needed to, but his changeup was really good. He threw a few sliders for strikes,” Tanner said. “His stuff was pretty good, and he got us deep into the game.”

Roth improved his record to 10-1 to grab the SEC lead in victories. Vanderbilt’s Grayson Garvin and Sonny Gray have nine wins apiece.

“I didn’t feel real comfortable up until about the sixth inning,” Roth said. “I don’t know if it took my arm 70 pitches to get loose or if I just started doing something right mechanically, but my changeup was working pretty much all night, and I was spotting the fastball well and was spotting pitches when I had to keep them off base.”

Ole Miss left eight runners on base and had good scoring opportunities. The Rebels loaded the bases in the third inning but failed to score. They put runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, but Matt Snyder grounded into a double play.

Ole Miss did not get a runner past second base the remainder of the game.

“No doubt about it, if they put some runs across there, the game changes,” Tanner said.

John Taylor pitched a perfect ninth for USC (37-8 overall, 18-4 SEC).

Ole Miss starter Matt Crouse took the loss, surrendering five runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings.

USC catcher Brady Thomas got the scoring started in the first inning, scoring Scott Wingo with a single up the middle.

DeSean Anderson’s sacrifice fly scored Evan Marzilli to extend USC’s lead to 2-0 in the second inning.

Robert Beary had an RBI single in the sixth, and Christian Walker had an RBI double and Jake Williams an RBI single in the seventh.

Game 2 of the series is at 3 p.m. Saturday. The game will be on SportSouth and is the only televised contest of the series.

USC sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes (4-1, 3.86 ERA) and Ole Miss junior right-hander David Goforth (3-6, 4.96) are the scheduled starters.

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