The South Carolina baseball team began its 2012 season where it left off last season.
The Gamecocks kept the game close and found a way to win late when newcomer LB Dantzler lined an RBI single in the eighth to give them a 2-1 win over VMI Friday afternoon before a full house at Carolina Stadium.
Dantzler, a junior college transfer from Florida, drove in Evan Marzilli, who began the rally with a bunt single, with the clutch two-out single. The two-time defending national champions won their season opener for the 14th consecutive season under coach Ray Tanner.
Left-hander Tyler Webb picked up the win with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Right-hander Forrest Koumas, the team’s new closer, got the final two outs for the first save of his career.
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Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner collected a pair of hits and threw out a runner attempting to steal in the ninth inning to halt VMI’s final rally.
The two teams play the second game of the series Saturday at noon. The starting time was pushed due to potential inclement weather later in the day. Junior right-hander Matt Price will draw the start for USC.
USC senior left-hander Michael Roth left the game Friday after throwing 89 pitches over six innings. He gave up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out six. VMI right-hander Coby Cowgill matched Roth with seven solid innings of his own. The only run he allowed was unearned, as he gave up seven hits and walked just one. Both came away with a no-decision for their efforts.
VMI took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Cameron Walket drilled a one-out single and scored a bloop single by Drew Bryan on a ball into left field that dumped in front of Tanner English.
The Gamecocks got the run back in the third. Freshman designated hitter Kyle Martin led off the inning with single, the first hit of his career. With two outs, Marzilli singled to center to put runners on first and second before a wild pitch and a passed ball scored the run.