With the pitching stretched thin in the final game of the three-game set between South Carolina and Georgia, a battle of the bullpens ensued.
Forrest Koumas, John Taylor, Bryan Harper and Matt Price held the Bulldogs to one run on two hits over the final seven innings in an 8-3 victory against the Bulldogs on Sunday at Carolina Stadium.
The win allowed No. 4 USC (14-4, 2-1 SEC) to claim its opening series in league play. Georgia (9-11, 1-2), which won the opening game of the series, didn’t get the same performance out of its bullpen, as six relievers combined to give up six runs over the final six innings.
Price, the All-America closer, threw the final two innings to record his fifth save, striking out four. Taylor, a senior right-hander who appeared in all three games of the series, pitched 2
“(Pitching) coach (Jerry) Meyers actually talked about getting in a battle of the bullpens (Saturday), and he said that he thinks we can outperform theirs,” Taylor said “That’s pretty much what we did today. Everybody chipped in and did our jobs.”
Koumas (2-0) picked up with win with 3
“To win our first series, especially after losing the opener and trailing most of the day (Saturday), and to be here right now, is big,” USC coach Ray Tanner said. “Our guys battled hard and played hard. We got stellar pitching all weekend. They kept us in a position to win.”
The Gamecocks strung together 10 hits, led by Adam Matthews with three and Scott Wingo with two. Matthews started the three-run rally in the eighth that put the game away with a single. Evan Marzilli capped the scoring with a two-run double.
Matthews, a junior right fielder, credited his teammates for hanging tough after dropping the opener, 4-2.
“It says a lot about this team. We fight hard,” Matthews said. “We show up together every day and we struggled a little bit Friday, but we came back out Saturday and had the confidence we’re going to compete every day and have a good game. This team is a hard-working team, and we’ve got a lot of veteran guys like we did last year.”
Westmoreland, the sophomore left-hander, couldn’t get out of the second inning when he hit two batters and walked another to load the bases with no outs. Tanner brought on Koumas, who allowed a sacrifice fly to Joey Delmonico and an RBI single to Curt Powell as the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead.
The Gamecocks tied the game in their half of the inning off Georgia left-hander Craig Gullickson on four singles. The game was tied 3-3 in the middle of the fourth before the Gamecocks pulled away against Georgia’s relievers.
“They came out and did a good job. Obviously, they didn’t get the start they wanted from Westmoreland, and we didn’t get it from Gullickson,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “The first weekend in the SEC, you’re trying to figure guys out. And we gave a couple of them opportunities, and they didn’t respond real well. Taylor was good all weekend, as was Price. We couldn’t figure those guys out.”
Tanner likes being able to turn to Taylor and Price. Taylor has 20 strikeouts in 16
“Taylor is very resilient. He can pitch even when he’s probably thrown too many pitches. He can still bounce back. He had a lot in his tank today,” Tanner said. “J.T. held them at bay until we went to Matt, and Matt was really good as well.”
After a weekend series that saw Tanner’s team make five errors in one game, his Sunday starter last one inning and his star, All-America center fielder Jackie Bradley, go 0-for-11, the USC coach was thrilled to be discussing a series victory.
“You don’t want to have those things happen, but a lot of times, when your guys aren’t getting hits or your guys aren’t making pitches, you don’t win,” he said. “We were able to win.”
Ray Tanner postgame
Matt Price postgame
John Taylor, Adam Matthews postgame
Christian Walker postgame
|Curt Powell 3b||5||0||2||1||0||1||2||2||0|
|Levi Hyams 2b||4||0||0||0||1||2||3||2||1|
|Zach Cone cf||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Chase Davidson rf||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||1||2|
|Brett DeLoach dh||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||0||0|
|Kyle Farmer ss||3||1||0||0||1||2||1||5||1|
|Jonathan Hester 1b||3||0||0||0||0||2||12||0||1|
|Joey Delmonico c||2||0||0||1||0||1||2||0||0|
|Brandon Stephens c||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Conor Welton ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Peter Verdin lf||3||1||1||0||0||2||0||0||0|
|Colby May ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Craig Gullickson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Eric Swegman p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|John Herman p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Earl Daniels p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Blake Dieterich p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ben Cornwell p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kevin Ruiz p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||5||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||5|
|Adam Matthews rf||3||2||3||1||1||0||2||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||5||1||1||1||0||0||7||0||0|
|Adrian Morales 3b||3||0||0||1||2||1||0||2||0|
|Jake Williams dh||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||2|
|Michael Roth ph||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Watson pr||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brady Thomas c||4||0||1||0||1||1||14||0||4|
|Robert Beary lf||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||0||0|
|Evan Marzilli lf||1||0||1||2||0||0||1||0||0|
|Peter Mooney ss||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||4||2|
|Scott Wingo 2b||3||1||2||1||2||0||0||1||0|
|Adam Westmoreland p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Forrest Koumas p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Taylor p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Bryan Harper p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Price p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Farmer(8); Morales(3); Mooney(8). DP - S. Carolina 1. LOB - UGA 8; S. Carolina 14. 2B - Marzilli(3); Wingo(3). 3B - Verdin(2). HBP - DeLoach; Hester; Williams; Mooney. SH - Matthews(6). SF - Delmonico(2). SB - Cone(4); Watson(1).
|John Herman L,1-2||0.1||0||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||1||15|
|Forrest Koumas W,2-0||3.1||2||1||1||3||6||0||1||0||0||11||15||2||2||61|
|Matt Price S,5||2.0||1||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||7||7||1||1||30|
Win - Koumas (2-0). Loss - Herman (1-2). Save - Price (5). HBP - by Westmoreland (DeLoach); by Westmoreland (Hester); by Dieterich (Williams); by Dieterich (Mooney). BK - Koumas(1). PB - Stephens(6). Pitches/strikes: Gullickson 46/22; Swegman 17/6; Herman 15/5; Daniels 10/6; Dieterich 60/36; Cornwell 35/16; Ruiz 10/4; Westmoreland 32/16; Koumas 61/34; Taylor 25/17; Harper 6/3; Price 30/21.
Umpires - HP: Tony Walsh 1B: Scott Kennedy 3B: Keith Sanders
Start: 1:31 pm
Westmoreland faced 3 batters in the 2nd.
Herman faced 2 batters in the 4th.