Entering the sixth inning Friday, South Carolina pitcher Sam Dyson had a streak of 11 2/3 scoreless postseason innings. Then it all came unhinged, as Charlotte tagged the redshirt freshman for seven runs over the next two innings.
Dyson was pulled with two outs in the seventh, which coach Ray Tanner admitted may have been a bit too late.
“You’re saying maybe I made a mistake? Maybe I did,” Tanner said. “But you know you’ve got to trust in your players a little bit, and he wanted to stay out there.”
Charlotte’s Aaron Bray had three of his four hits off Dyson, including a three-run homer in the seventh. He said Dyson was still “throwing his fastball as hard as he was earlier in the game.”
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Teammate Alan Parks, who homered off Dyson in the sixth inning, theorized that his teammates just needed a couple turns against Dyson to get a better handle on him.
“Toward the end I was leaving some balls out of over the plate, and they were taking advantage of it,” Dyson said. “Without some of the key defensive plays it probably would’ve been a different story.”
Busting the web. USC first baseman Justin Smoak was charged with his fifth error of the season. But the blame was really on his glove.
The webbing busted when Smoak tried to catch a throw from third baseman James Darnell in the fourth inning. Smoak immediately traded in the glove.
“It was pretty crazy, the ball about hit me in the mouth actually,” Smoak said. “Darnell made a good play and threw it right to me, and I don’t know what happened. It just popped.”
Lail hurt. Senior right fielder Harley Lail’s status is a “day-to-day situation,” according to Tanner. Lail was injured when he slid into the wall going after a second-inning foul ball. After a delay of a couple minutes he stayed in the field, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.
“I don’t know if he’s got any serious damage to his leg,” Tanner said. “He took a pretty good spill down there, and it got tight on him. He wanted to play.”
Tanner ended up using three different right fielders. Lail’s replacement, Andrew Crisp, was lifted late in the game for freshman Justin Hopper.
He said it. “I just had a good jump on the ball. When he hit it I thought he had a sure double. But the wind was blowing across, it kept it up a little bit. So I went up for it and I grabbed it.”
— USC left fielder DeAngelo Mack on his diving catch in the second inning.
Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.