Almost a year ago to the day, Presbyterian College came into Sarge Frye Field and gave South Carolina all it could handle in an extra-inning victory by the Gamecocks.
While that memory is lost on many of the new faces in the USC lineup, the Blue Hose put up another battle before the Gamecocks scratched out a 6-5 victory Monday at Carolina Stadium.
It took a Nick Ebert’s game-tying sacrifice fly and Jeffery Jones’ two-out game-winning single in the seventh to give the Gamecocks the come-from-behind victory.
“They played us great last year, in a 2-1 affair,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “We were able to score a couple of runs late to win tonight. They’ve played a very, very good schedule, and they’ve been competitive in those games. I was impressed with their personnel.”
Presbyterian (2-9) moved the tying run to third base with two outs in the ninth inning, but freshman Michael Roth secured the win by knocking down a line drive up the middle by Zac Rhinesmith. His throw to first was in plenty of time to end the game.
South Carolina (9-1) was coming off a weekend in which it scored 29 runs in three games against Long Beach State and a four-game streak of at least 10 hits.
However, five Blue Hose pitchers limited the Gamecocks to eight hits and restricted those hits to four innings.
The big early hit came from Ebert, whose three-run homer in the third gave the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead.
Ebert said the Presbyterian pitchers weren’t overpowering but they kept USC’s batters off balance with the off-speed pitches and fastballs that reached the low to mid-80’s on the scoreboard radar gun.
“They did an awesome job as far as keeping us off-balance,” Ebert said. “Their fastball wasn’t overpowering by any means but they kept us guessing most of the night.”
Tanner was equally impressed by the Blue Hose pitching staff.
“Their pitching put them in position to win that game,” Tanner said. “We didn’t swing it that well, but we came up with a couple of big hits late.”
Bobby Haney added an RBI single in the fourth before the Blue Hose came storming back. They did it with the aid of two Andrew Crisp errors in the fifth inning that led to two of the three runs being unearned.
Kenny Bryant led off the sixth inning with his third home run, a long blast that landed on the shuttle buses beyond right field to give Presbyterian the lead.
Roth, a freshman from Riverside in Greer, pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit to pick up his first career win. He struck out one and walked one but only allowed the single base runner in the ninth inning.
“I figured I get a few innings and I was able to go the difference,” Roth said.
The strike out of Gabe Grammer in the eighth inning led to the ejection of Presbyterian coach Elton Pollock. He was tossed by the first base umpire for arguing a checked swing third strike.