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Mack ends extra-soggy effort

USC first baseman Nick Ebert, right back, tags out Georgia Southern's Kevin Bowles as USC shortstop Bobby Haney avoids the play after tossing the ball to Ebert at Carolina Stadium Wednesday, March 25, 2009.
USC first baseman Nick Ebert, right back, tags out Georgia Southern's Kevin Bowles as USC shortstop Bobby Haney avoids the play after tossing the ball to Ebert at Carolina Stadium Wednesday, March 25, 2009.

The rain, rain wouldn’t go away, but the Gamecocks managed to win anyway.

DeAngelo Mack delivered a two-out RBI single in the 10th inning to give the USC baseball team a 2-1 victory against Georgia Southern on Wednesday night at a very soggy Carolina Stadium.

Despite a steady drizzle, the teams played a crisp game with excellent pitching and one error.

“I’m sure many people thought there would not be a game here tonight at Carolina Stadium,” said USC coach Ray Tanner, who admitted to being notorious for playing home games no matter what the weather. “It was a great college baseball game despite the conditions.”

Mack’s single off Georgia Southern lefty reliever Dexter Bobo (2-1) delivered Jackie Bradley, whose one-out single was followed by Whit Merrifield’s walk. After Nick Ebert popped out, Mack drilled a two-strike changeup into right for his third hit of the game.

“It was time to go home,” said Mack, who has a team-high 25 RBIs.

The Gamecocks (16-6, 2-4 SEC) travel to Kentucky (15-6, 3-3 SEC) this weekend for their third SEC series of the season. They have dropped the first two conference series to Mississippi State and LSU.

Georgia Southern starter Jake Brown shut down the Gamecocks over seven innings, allowing five hits and walking one. But the junior left-hander left the game with the score tied at 1-1. USC reliever Matt Price matched him pitch for pitch with a brilliant stint in relief. The freshman righty tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk.

“He was very special against a good club. He gave us everything he had,” said Tanner, who noted that Price’s performance might get him consideration for a starting role in the future.

Price was pleased with his longest outing of the season.

“It felt great to get out there and throw,” Price said. “I’m glad we got a win out of it.”

Alex Farotto (3-0) picked up the win with a scoreless 10th inning.

The Eagles scored in the second inning with three hits off USC starter Michael Roth. Eric Phillips and Brian Pierce led off with singles to begin the inning. After a sacrifice bunt moved them to second and third, Kevin Bowles singled to center to make the score 1-0.

The Gamecocks got it back in the third when Bobby Haney lined a one-out single and went to third on Bradley’s single to left-center. Merrifield got the run home with a groundout.

After a pair of weekend losses to LSU, Tanner was happy to survive a tough mid-week schedule.

The Eagles (16-5) entered the game as one of the top teams in the Southern Conference along with College of Charleston (17-4), which lost 14-2 to the Gamecocks Tuesday night.

“You look at 17-4 and 16-4 (coming into the games), and you go, ‘My goodness,’” he said. “College baseball is very good. There’s a lot of parity. There are a lot of good teams out there.”

Mack agreed.

“It’s very important,” he said. “It’ll help us with our RPI at the end of the season.”

USC pitcher Brandon Miller was struck in the face by a foul ball off the bat of Merrifield while standing in the dugout. It had deflected off Miller’s shoulder. He sustained a mild concussion and will be monitored overnight.

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