Gamecocks hammer 'Dawgs in opener

Cooper keeps Georgia's bats on ice while USC has hot-hitting night

roger.clarkson@onlineathens.comApril 23, 2010 

Fri Apr 16, 2010-Columbia, SC- USC pitcher Blake Cooper starts off the game against Ole Miss on Friday. USC played Ole Miss Friday night at Carolina Stadium.

FILE/TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com Buy Photo

  • USC vs. Georgia

    WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

    WHERE: Foley Field, Athens, Ga.

    SERIES: USC leads 53-46

    TV: CSS on Saturday

    RECORDS: USC 30-8, 12-4 SEC; Georgia 12-26, 3-13 SEC

    RANKINGS: USC is No. 10 in Baseball America

    PITCHING MATCHUPS: Saturday, USC RHP Sam Dyson, Jr., 3-2, 5.04 vs. Georgia TBA; Sunday, USC RHP Jay Brown, Sr.., 2-0, 3.60 vs. Georgia TBA

ATHENS, Ga. - Blake Cooper consistently hit the strike zone. Georgia's Justin Grimm sometimes had problems locating the catcher's mitt.

The difference in pitching showed up on the scoreboard as South Carolina bombed the Bulldogs 11-4 on Friday at Foley Field.

South Carolina turned 12 hits, eight walks, three wild pitches and a hit batsman into 11 runs. Meanwhile, Gamecocks' right-hander Cooper held Georgia to seven hits and struck out nine in eight innings.

"I was able to get ahead in the count, and I was able to locate in," Cooper said. "That would open up the outer half of the plate, then I'd go with a curveball or slider. Every pitcher is more effective when they get ahead, and that's what you want to do."

Cooper allowed seven hits and four runs with nine strikeouts and one walk in eight innings. Georgia's top four hitters in the lineup, Johnathan Taylor, Peter Verdin and pinch hitter Zach Taylor, Levi Hyams and Zach Cone, batted a combined 2-for-17 in the game.

"He pitched well enough for us to win and that's the key," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "There's some good pitching in this league. There are a lot of Friday night guys who are prototype and we've got a guy who's not a prototype guy but he's pretty good. I'm esthetic about the year Blake Cooper's had for us."

Georgia (12-26, 3-13 SEC) has lost three conference games in a row and remains in last place in the SEC East, while South Carolina (30-8, 12-4) is alone in first place in the division.

Georgia and South Carolina play the second game of the series today beginning at 1 p.m.

Grimm (2-6) pitched five innings and gave up seven hits and nine runs (all earned) with six walks and three strikeouts.

"It was one of those nights where I just couldn't find the zone," Grimm said. "The third inning, I couldn't find the zone. I settled back in for the third and the fourth. But there were too many leadoff walks. I left the ball up too many times on first pitch and gave up a couple of home runs. But we've got to continue to work hard and come back to help the team."

USC's Whit Merrifield and Adam Matthews each hit a home run. Nick Ebert had three RBIs, and Morales added three hits.

"The balls really do fly here," Matthews said. "You go out and try to have some good-quality at-bats. You need to make good swings, and good things might happen. If you get good situations, then let it fly."

The Gamecocks all but put the game out of reach in the third when Grimm loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman.

A walk to Jackie Bradley forced in the game's first run. Nick Ebert then looped a 2-run double to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead. Adrian Morales beat out an infield hit for another RBI before Kyle Enders connected on a two-run single to give South Carolina a 6-0 lead in the third and permanent possession of the game's momentum.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service