on June 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

N.C. State beats Gamecocks

RALEIGH, N.C. — Saturday’s regional wasn’t one of those crazy high-scoring affairs that South Carolina’s high-powered offense finds itself involved in on so many occasions.

The Gamecocks’ 5-4 loss to host North Carolina State was an old-fashioned affair more prone to wooden bats than the power-laden aluminum used by the NCAA.

It was nip-and-tuck from the first pitch with plenty of drama on both sides in front of a tense capacity crowd at Dail Park.

“That was a great college baseball game,” USC coach Ray Tanner said. “Great atmosphere, and we had our chances and they had their chances. It was one of those games where every pitch made a difference, and every pitch was important and they came up one run better.”

USC must now defeat James Madison (a 13-12 winner Saturday to eliminate Charlotte) at 1 p.m. today and then beat the Wolfpack twice. Those possible games would be 6 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Monday.

North Carolina State (40-20) broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning on center fielder Marcus Jones’ one-out single to center. First baseman Pat Ferguson came up next and singled to left, but USC’s DeAngelo Mack threw Devon Cartwright out at the plate.

USC reliever Brandon Todd then loaded the bases with a walk before striking out shortstop Tommy Foschi to keep the one-run deficit.

The Gamecocks went down in order in the eighth and ninth with DH Parker Bangs ending the first frame by hitting into a 6-4-3 double-play with DeAngelo Mack on first. N.C. State reliever Eryk McConnell closed out the ninth with two diving catches behind him, including second baseman Dallas Poulk’s snare of Reese Havens’ liner to end it.

“Great baseball game by both teams,” Wolfpack coach Elliot Avent said. “I thought both played very well and competed very well. The crowd was unbelievable, the best I’ve seen here. Our guys played very, very well and kept their emotions in check with a lot going on.”

With the exception of State left fielder and cleanup hitter Jeremy Synan, who was throw out by the home plate umpire after disagreeing with a called third strike that ended the fifth with two runners on.

His replacement, Devon Cartwright, came up with a huge defensive play throwing Bangs out at home to end the sixth inning seconds after Mack had scored the go-ahead run on Andrew Crisp’s bloop single to left. USC had tied it earlier in the inning on a throwing error.

The Wolfpack tied it in the bottom of the inning with Jones scoring on a wild pitch by Todd. Nick Godwin began the inning by hitting Jones on a 0-2 pitch, which he called his biggest mistake of the game.

“That was probably the biggest pitch of the night,” said Godwin, a Spartanburg Methodist College product. “That and the 0-2 pitch to the leadoff batter (of the game).”

Poulk hit that pitch over the right-field fence for a home run.

“You get caught up in the emotion of the game sometimes and think you’re going to blow someone away when you really don’t have the stuff to,” Godwin said.

N.C. State led 2-0 through three innings and 3-1 after four (with the Gamecocks’ run coming on a Mack homer, his second in as many nights).

“You can go back and look at would have, could have, should have,” Tanner said. “Had we won the game, they would have done the same thing, but we had some opportunities to score and we didn’t. It’s tough to expect your guys to be perfect all the time because the opposition has a lot to do with the outcome.”