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Saturday March 25, 2006No. 7 South Carolina Nips No. 9 Baseball, 6-5

Columbia, SC

No. 7 South Carolina (21-3/4-1 SEC) rallied from a 5-2 deficit with four runs in the fifth, highlighted by a two-out, three-run homer by junior Robbie Grinestaff, to hand No. 9 Florida (17-10/2-3 SEC) a 6-5 defeat in front of a packed house of 4,278 fans at Sarge Frye Field on Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks clinched the series with their fourth straight victory and emerged victorious against the Gators in a home series for the fifth consecutive time dating back to 1996.


Freshman Mike Cisco (3-0) went 5.1 innings to pick up the win, allowing nine hits and five runs with five strikeouts and two walks. Sophomore Wynn Pelzer hurled 3.2 scoreless innings, with five K, three walks and zero hits, to collect his second save. Sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) (5-2) dropped his second-straight start by surrendering career highs in hits (14) and runs (six). The righty notched eight strikeouts over 7.1 innings and issued one walk.


Florida plated two runs in the first off Cisco to open the scoring for the first time in six games. Junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) connected on a leadoff home run to left field for his team-leading sixth dinger of the campaign. It was the first round-tripper to start a contest for the Gators since Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.) accomplished the feat against Mercer on March 1, 2005. Davis drew a walk and moved into scoring position with his fifth stolen base of the year before junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) poked an RBI single into left center for a 2-0 lead.


In the bottom of the inning, the Gamecocks countered with three-straight two-out singles off Augenstein for a 2-1 deficit. After the right-hander set down the first two USC hitters, senior Michael Campbell singled through the right side and senior Neil Giesler increased his hitting streak to 16 games with a base-hit up the middle. Junior Drew Martin delivered an RBI single to center to bring across the hosts’ initial run. 


Carolina evened the score at 2-2 in the third but was denied for more when the Gators turned a pivotal inning-ending double play. Campbell lashed a one-out single and advanced to second when Florida fumbled the ball in the outfield. Giesler raised his batting average to .500 (40-for-80) with an RBI single and Martin sliced a base-hit just inside the right-field line for runners on the corners. Augenstein had Grinestaff ground to Davis, who stepped on second and then fired over to LaPorta to keep the game tied.


Dickey cranked a three-run bomb with two down in the fourth to put the Gators back on top, 5-2. Junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) started the frame with a walk and moved to second on Petrie’s second hit of the afternoon. Cisco struck out sophomore Matt Gaski (Greensboro, N.C.) and was ahead of Dickey 1-2 before the junior launched his seventh dinger of the year over the left-field wall. Dickey’s multiple-homer effort was the second of his career, as he accomplished the feat on Feb. 12 in a 20-4 rout of Cincinnati.


Powered by a three-run homer with two out by Grinestaff, the Gamecocks seized a 6-5 advantage in the fifth. Junior Cheyne Hurst roped a leadoff double and scored when sophomore Trent Kline’s single to center was misplayed. Augenstein answered with strikeouts of Campbell and Giesler before walking Martin on four pitches. Grinestaff jacked a 0-1 offering deep to right for his team-leading sixth home run to give the hosts their first lead of the afternoon. It was only the second homer allowed by Augenstein this season.


Junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) punched a single to open the sixth and stole second. Gaski stroked a one-out single to give UF runners on the corners and end the afternoon for Cisco. Pelzer came in to strike out Dickey and Davis earned a free pass to fill the bases. The reliever caught LaPorta looking on strikes to bring the Gators’ total to seven left on base.  


Junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) began the seventh with a walk but was erased at second when sophomore Brandon McArthur’s (Seffner, Fla.) sacrifice attempt went right to the pitcher. After Jeroloman’s grounder advanced McArthur, Pelzer had Pride tap out to second base.  


Freshman Justin Smoak launched a double off the wall in center with one down in the eighth, prompting a pitching change. Augenstein worked 7.1 innings, the seventh start in a row he has hurled at least seven frames. Senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) kept the score 6-5 by striking out freshman James Darnell and popping Hurst up to short. LaPorta drew a one-out walk in the ninth but Pelzer fanned Leclerc and had McArthur ground out to end the game.


South Carolina out-hit the Gators, 14-9, as Giesler was 3-for-4 and the trio of Campbell, Hurst and Martin chipped in with two hits apiece. Dickey went 3-for-5 and matched his career high with four RBI. Junior Forrest Beverly (4-1, 4.15 ERA) will start tomorrow’s finale at 1:30 p.m. against a starter to be named later.


Game Notes

  • The Gators’ three-game losing streak matches their season high between Feb. 26-March 4 (4-0 to Wake Forest, 6-4 to Florida State, 4-0 to Texas A&M).
  • Bryan Augenstein had given up 31 hits in 48.1 innings entering today’s game and had permitted a total of eight earned runs. 
  • Florida left nine runners on base, compared to seven for South Carolina.
  • The Gamecocks improved to 19-1 at home this season.








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