Gamecocks hold off Elon rally in ninth inning

Special to The StateFebruary 25, 2012 

After dominating for eight innings, South Carolina’s baseball team managed to halt a late Elon rally and win 3-2 Saturday on a blustery afternoon at Carolina Stadium.

Starter Matt Price allowed one single through five innings, and he tied a career record with eight strikeouts. Tyler Webb gave up two runs but notched a career-record seven strikeouts through 3 2/3 innings.

Webb left with the game dangling in the balance with two outs in the ninth. Quinn Bower’s easy grounder darted under Connor Bright’s glove to begin the inning, and Webb hit Niko Fraser with a pitch. Alex Swim’s single scored Bower, and Tanner pulled Webb for closer Forrest Koumas.

Koumas gave up a hit to Garrett Koster, and Fraser scored from third, slashing USC’s lead to 3-2. But Columbia native Connor Lewis struck out to end the game, giving a standing and anxious crowd the relief they sought.

“I wasn’t tired in the ninth; I just got behind to the first couple hitters and hit a guy with a slider that moved more than I thought it would,” Webb said.

Saturday’s pitching staff — Price, Webb and Koumas —combined for 16 strikeouts, the most since 2010, when the team notched 18 against Valparaiso.

Coach Ray Tanner praised the team’s pitching, which he said “gave us a chance to win today.”

USC has given up seven runs and 15 hits through five games, allowing four earned runs. The staff has totaled 59 strikeouts, averaging 11.8 per game.

For Price, the game provided a vindication of sorts. He lost control in the sixth inning of last Saturday’s 3-2 victory against VMI and was pulled by Tanner. He earned a no decision for the game and said afterward his arm was tired.

Price (1-0) said he didn’t want to leave Saturday’s game after five, when he was pulled after 81 pitches. He seemed in control, frequently locating his fastballs on the corners of the plate and consistently throwing sliders for strikes.

“My arm felt great today, but I talked to coach and he kind of put me on a pitch count,” Price said. “…You’re only as good as your last start, and you want to go out there and prove everyone wrong.”

USC cobbled together three runs from seven hits, many of them infield singles and bunts. The Gamecocks scored two on a slew of singles in the third inning and picked up another run in the fifth after loading the bases with no outs.

“We didn’t swing the bats as much as I’d like to see us, but we did execute the short game a little bit, and that gave us a chance to win today,” Tanner said.

The Phoenix managed two runners on base before the ninth. They finished with three hits and one error.

USC improved to 5-0, and Elon dropped to 4-2. The series finale is Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Carolina Stadium.

123456789-RHE
Elon000000002-231
South Carolina00201000X-371

ELON ab r h rbi bb so po a lob
Niko Fraser cf 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Sebastian Gomez 2b 4 0 0 0 0 2 3 5 0
Alex Swim c 4 0 1 1 0 1 5 1 0
Blaine Bower pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Garrett Koster ss 4 0 1 1 0 3 2 5 0
Ryan Kinsella 1b 2 0 0 0 0 1 9 1 0
Grant McCoury ph/1b 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Connor Lewis ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
Jake Luce lf 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Michael Elefante dh 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1
Casey Jones 3b 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
Tyler McVicar ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Eric Serra rf 1 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 0
Quinn Bower ph 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dylan Clark p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Grant Fisher p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Pennell p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Totals 30 2 3 2 1 16 24 16 3

Player ab r h rbi bb so po a lob
Evan Marzilli cf 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Tanner English lf/rf 4 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0
Christian Walker 1b 4 0 1 1 0 2 7 1 0
Grayson Greiner dh 4 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1
LB Dantzler 3b 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Joey Pankake ss 2 0 0 0 2 0 1 2 1
Connor Bright 2b 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dante Rosenberg c 3 0 0 0 0 0 14 3 3
Adam Matthews rf 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
TJ Costen lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Price p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Tyler Webb p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Forrest Koumas p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 30 3 7 2 3 5 27 8 6

E - Koster(3); Bright(1). DP - ELON 1. LOB - ELON 3; S. Carolina 6. HBP - Fraser. CS - Serra(1); Greiner(1).

Elon ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
Dylan Clark L,1-1 6.0 7 3 2 2 3 0 0 0 0 24 26 3 10 93
Grant Fisher 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 1 2 13
Ryan Pennell 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 4 0 1 21

South Carolina ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
Matt Price W,1-0 5.0 1 0 0 1 8 0 0 0 0 15 16 3 3 81
Tyler Webb 3.2 1 2 0 0 7 0 0 1 0 13 14 1 3 55
Forrest Koumas S,2 0.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 12

Win - Price (1-0). Loss - Clark (1-1). Save - Koumas (2). HBP - by Webb (Fraser). Pitches/strikes: Clark 93/58; Fisher 13/9; Pennell 21/12; Price 81/48; Webb 55/37; Koumas 12/7.

Umpires - HP: David Mills 1B: David Brown 3B: Joe Marion

Start: 1:31 pm

Time: 2:22

Attendance: 7,606

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