Appalachian State came into Carolina Stadium ready to slay another giant. South Carolina’s Evan Marzilli threw back the Mountaineers’ rock.
The junior center fielder drilled a bases-loaded double in the seventh inning that scored the decisive runs and made an incredible leaping catch at the wall to start a game-ending double play as the third-ranked Gamecocks rallied to defeat ASU 6-4 Wednesday night.
The comeback win upped USC’s record to 15-1, while the Mountaineers, who defeated No. 13 LSU two-of-three on the road earlier in the season, had their 12-game winning streak snapped to fall to 14-3.
USC coach Ray Tanner appreciates his experienced players such as Marzilli, who has served a key role on two national championship teams.
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“You want to see your veteran guys up there and give it your best shot,” Tanner said. “It doesn’t matter if he’s 0-for-4. It doesn’t matter if he’s 2-for-4. He plays every day. He gives you the same thing every single day. His approach is great. That’s all you can ask.”
Marzilli’s defense also saved one of the Clemson wins on that game’s final play, and his sprint and leaping grab on a deep drive to the center-field wall in the ninth off the bat of Daniel Kassouf was equally sparkling. It would have tied the game if it left the park, but ASU baserunner Tyler Zupcic was doubled off second on the play instead.
“Off the bat I thought it was a home run or something I had to jump for, but it stayed in the ballpark and ended up where I could get to it. I was lucky to come up with it,” Marzilli said.
The Cranston, R.I., native also came up big at the plate. He ripped a ball into the right-center field gap in the seventh off ASU reliever Chad Farmer (1-1) for three runs to turn a 4-3 deficit into USC’s first lead of the game.
“I was looking for a ball I could get extended on and he left it over the plate. I got a pitch I could get the bat on,” said Marzilli, whose four RBIs tied his single-game career high. He also extended his streak of reaching base to 16 games.
Junior left-hander Tyler Webb pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings to get his second win. Freshman right-hander Evan Beal came on to get the final two outs to record his third save.
The Mountaineers jumped on USC freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery for four runs in the first inning thanks to the long ball. After Montgomery allowed singles to Hector Crespo and Zupcic, Will Callaway blasted a three-run shot into the ASU bullpen for a quick 3-0 lead. Callaway, a junior shortstop from Greenville, was a former walk-on in the USC program coming out of high school in 2008 but did not make the team before going to Young Harris JC and then ASU.
One out later, Tyler Tewell ripped a home run over the right-field fence to give the Mountaineers a 4-0 lead. But from that point, Montgomery and three relievers combined to retire 23 consecutive batters through the eighth inning.
“The biggest thing was the bullpen coming out and shutting (them) down like that after the first inning. That’s what won us the game tonight,” Marzilli said.
Junior first baseman Christian Walker, who had three hits, including an RBI single in the fourth inning to cut the ASU lead to 4-3, cited USC’s resilience as a big factor in fighting back.
“That’s the good thing about this team. We never hit the panic button,” Walker said. “No matter how much we’re down or how much we’re up, we still play the same, maybe a little bit more energy in the dugout if anything. We’re always comfortable. It’s a great quality to have as a team, and it’s going to win you a lot of games.”
USC, which stranded 15 in the game, got one run back in the second off ASU freshman left-hander Jeffrey Springs when LB Dantzler singled with one out and scored on Marzilli’s two-out double that dumped into center field. That began the Gamecocks’ uphill climb to the win, something that impressed Tanner.
“We fought and we battled, and it was a great game for us to win after getting in that position,” Tanner said.
South Carolina travels to Kentucky (18-0) this weekend for its first SEC series of the season.
|Hector Crespo 2b||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||0||0|
|Tyler Zupcic cf||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||0||0|
|Will Callaway ss||4||1||1||3||0||1||3||2||0|
|Daniel Kassouf dh||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Tyler Tewell rf||3||1||1||1||0||0||6||0||0|
|Jeremy Dowdy c||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||1||0|
|Noah Holmes 3b||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||0||0|
|Preston Troutman lf||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0|
|Trey Holmes 1b||3||0||0||0||0||1||5||0||0|
|Jeffrey Springs p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tyler Moore p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Will Helms p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Farmer p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Josh Wilson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Zach Joyce p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Jessup p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Evan Marzilli cf||5||1||2||4||0||0||2||1||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||3||0||0||0||2||0||6||0||1|
|Christian Walker 1b||4||0||3||1||1||0||6||0||0|
|Grayson Greiner c||3||0||0||0||2||1||9||0||2|
|Kyle Martin dh||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||3|
|Brison Celek ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Erik Payne 2b||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||4|
|Connor Bright ss||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|TJ Costen ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Joey Pankake ss||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|LB Dantzler 3b||4||3||2||0||1||0||2||1||1|
|Tanner English lf||3||1||1||0||2||0||1||0||1|
|Jordan Montgomery p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hunter Privette p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tyler Webb p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Forrest Koumas p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Evan Beal p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Crespo(2); Callaway 2(9). DP - S. Carolina 1. LOB - S. Carolina 15. 2B - Marzilli 2(7); Walker(4). HR - Callaway(1); Tewell(2). SH - Payne(3). SB - Crespo(12).
|Chad Farmer L,1-1||0.1||2||3||2||1||1||0||0||0||1||4||5||0||0||19|
|Tyler Webb W,2-0||1.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||5||5||3||0||21|
|Evan Beal S,3||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||0||1|
Win - Webb (2-0). Loss - Farmer (1-1). Save - Beal (3). WP - Jessup(1). Pitches/strikes: Springs 74/37; Moore 22/11; Helms 17/8; Farmer 19/9; Wilson 14/7; Joyce 13/8; Jessup 4/2; Montgomery 58/40; Privette 19/13; Webb 21/14; Koumas 12/7; Beal 1/1.
Umpires - HP: Joe Marion 1B: Clint Lawson 3B: Jamie Roebuck
Start: 6:59 pm