Shelby, N.C. - No. 10 South Carolina took a 6-4 lead into the top of the eighth inning but Gardner-Webb rallied with two runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth with the tying and winning runs both scoring on Gamecock errors as the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina 7-6 on Tuesday evening in non-conference action in front of 4,825 fans at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. Gardner-Webb improves to 21-19-1 with South Carolina now 31-11 on the year.
Gardner-Webb's rally in the eighth inning began with a walk to Danny Yelverton in the eighth. After a wild pitch by Vince Fiori moved him up to second base, the Gamecocks went to the pen for right-hander Joel Seddon. Singles by Scott Johnson and Ryan Hodge cut the South Carolina lead down to 6-5. Seddon would retire the next two batters with a popup and groundout. With runners on second and third, the Gamecocks intentionally walked Benji Jackson loading the bases for Scott Coleman. On a 2-1 pitch Coleman hit a grounder to third that was misfielded by Chase Vergason allowing pinch runner Alex Newman to score and tie the game. Seddon got out of the inning with a strikeout of Brad Collins. The Bulldogs completed the rally in the ninth inning. John Harris led off with a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, Tyler Best knocked a pitch from Evan Beal over to Joey Pankake at shortstop. Pankake looked to get pinch runner Taylor Fisher at third base. His throw went wide and past Vergason though and allowed Fisher to score giving Gardner-Webb the 7-6 lead. South Carolina went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
Gardner-Webb reliever Mitch Warner earned the win and is 3-0 on the year. He allowed just one run on four hits in 4.1 innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Joel Seddon suffered the loss and is 1-1 for the season. He allowed two runs, both unearned, on three hits in 1.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
Gardner-Webb had 15 hits with South Carolina finishing with 13 for the game. LB Dantzler was 3-for-5 with two runs to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Grayson Greiner, Connor Bright and TJ Costen all had two hits apiece as well. Brad Collins and Ryan Hodge both tallied three hits to lead GWU.
South Carolina committed four errors in the contest leading to four unearned runs for Gardner-Webb. A pair of GWU errors also led to two unearned runs for the Gamecocks.
Gardner-Webb opened with a three-run lead in the top of the first inning. JJ Nazzaro led off with a base hit to left field on the first pitch of the game and Henry Rundio singled to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners. With two outs and runners on first and second, Collins drilled a double to deep right-center scoring both runners to give GWU a two-run cushion. Collins then scored on a throwing error by Gamecock second baseman Max Schrock increasing the GWU advantage to 3-0.
The Gamecocks scratched across two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Dantzler led off with a double off the wall in right field. After Max Schrock singled to center field, Dantzler would eventually score as a fielding error by Nazzaro in center allowed Dantzler to go from third to home. Schrock would eventually score on a RBI double off the bat of Connor Bright cutting the deficit to 3-2.
South Carolina trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth and mounted a rally. Dantzler led off with a single to right field, his third hit of the game. With one out, the Gamecocks would put runners on first and second as a fielder's choice off the bat of Brison Celek turned into two runners as Gardner-Webb second baseman Scott Johnson muffed the throw at second base by shortstop Ryan Hodge. The Gamecocks took advantage of the miscue as Grayson Greiner belted a double to the gap in right-center scoring both runners and tying the game. With two outs, TJ Costen would drive in Greiner with a base hit off Smith on the mound and into left field giving Carolina a 5-4 lead.
That lead extended to 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Brison Celek extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out base hit. With pinch runner Shon Carson into the game, Carolina put together two more hits with a base hit by Greiner followed by a RBI single from Bright, his second RBI of the game.
The Gamecocks are back in action this weekend with a three-game series at LSU in SEC play.