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Friday April 6, 2007No. 4 USC Takes Series Opener Over Baseball

Gainesville, FL

Junior Harris Honeycutt (7-0) matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts over six shutout innings as fourth-ranked South Carolina (25-6/6-4 SEC) claimed the opener of its weekend series at No. 22 Florida (19-14/7-3 SEC) with a 12-2 victory on Friday night in front of 4,090 fans at McKethan Stadium. Junior Travis Jones went 3-for-4 with a couple of home runs and drove in a season-high five RBI to help the Gamecocks snap the Gators’ winning streak at eight games.


“Bryan (Augenstein) elevated pitches and got lateral on some breaking balls,” said head coach Pat McMahon. He did well though, with the exception of the four-spot in the third inning. He wanted to get back out there and compete after that. You want that out of your Friday night guy, and he has earned the right to pitch. Offensively, we didn’t come up with the clutch hits that we have been doing. South Carolina is an excellent team, and we’re going to focus on preparing for tomorrow now.”


The visitors drew first blood against junior Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) on a Gator error in the first inning. Junior Harley Lail opened the game with a single into left and moved into scoring position with his sixth stolen base. A ground ball by sophomore James Darnell pushed Lail to third and junior Trent Kline’s pop-up was dropped by freshman shortstop Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) to bring across the unearned run.


A two-out rally in the second yielded another score for the Gamecocks. Augenstein set down the first two batters before surrendering a base-hit to Jones. Sophomore Reese Havens stroked a single into right for runners on the corners and Lail’s RBI blooper just beyond first base gave USC a 2-0 lead.


Carolina used a pair of two-run homers in the third off Augenstein to build a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore Justin Smoak extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a one-out single and took second on junior Phil Disher’s grounder to third. Sophomore Andrew Crisp belted his second round-tripper of the year into the left-field bleachers and senior Robbie Grinestaff punched a single into left. Jones put the visitors up by six runs with a line-drive homer into the left-field bleachers.


The Gators loaded the bases with two down in the fourth but could not push anything across. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) and freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) delivered back-to-back singles and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) walked to fill the sacks. Honeycutt had sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) tap back to the mound to retire the side.


“We came in off a run of eight wins, and everyone was excited and up-tempo to play tonight,” Neer said. “Then the first few innings were rough outings for us, and South Carolina kept making good swings. Their pitching was great, too. We are still feeling good, and we are ready to come out here tomorrow.”


The Garnet and Black tacked on two more runs on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Crisp started the frame with an infield hit and scored all the way from first base on a double to the center-field wall by Grinestaff. Jones laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance senior pinch runner Cheyne Hurst, and Havens lofted a sac fly to center field to provide the Gamecocks with an 8-0 lead.  


Jones blasted a three-run shot in the seventh, his second homer of the night, to balloon South Carolina’s margin to 11-0. Disher doubled to left center and Andrew Crisp followed with a base-hit as sophomore pinch runner Adam Crisp remained on second base. Jones cranked Augenstein’s 2-2 pitch high over the left-field bleachers to end the night for the right-hander, who allowed 14 hits and totaled seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings to fall to 3-4 on the season.


The Gators broke through for two runs on three hits in the eighth off junior reliever Sean Wideberg to get on the scoreboard. Freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) drew a pinch-hit walk with two down and den Dekker poked his second hit of the contest. Townsend and freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) delivered consecutive RBI singles for an 11-2 margin, prompting a pitching change. Junior Wynn Pelzer induced an inning-ending fielder’s choice by senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.). The Gamecocks tacked on their final run in the ninth on a wild pitch by sophomore J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, Fla.).


South Carolina out-hit the Gators, 16-10, as five different players turned in multiple-hit outings. Neer had a career-high three hits for UF, while den Dekker and Townsend contributed two hits apiece. The hosts stranded 14 runners and committed three errors. Freshman left-hander Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) (2-0, 0.87) will start tomorrow’s second game at 4 p.m. against USC sophomore left-hander Will Atwood (1-1, 2.45).





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