South Carolina Forces Third Game In NCAA Super Regional With 4-3 Win Over Cardinal

June 2, 2001

Stanford, Calif. - South Carolina (49-19) staved off elimination from the NCAA Division I Baseball Championships with a 4-3 win over Stanford (47-16) on Saturday in the second game of an NCAA Super Regional at Sunken Diamond. The Gamecocks' victory means a deciding game will be played between the two teams on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., with the winner advancing to the 55th College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. South Carolina (4-0) and Stanford (3-0) are a combined perfect 7-0 in post-season elimination games this season. The Cardinal also was 3-0 in Regional or Super Regional post-season games in 2000. Stanford will be attempting to qualify for the CWS for the third straight season, an accomplishment the Cardinal has never achieved. South Carolina is looking to get back to Omaha for the first time since 1985.

'It was a great game today, but unfortunately we came out on the short end,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess about his club's 4-3 loss on Saturday. 'I thought South Carolina earned it. I think the difference in the game was that they bunched their hits and when they had an opportunity with runners on base they came up with a big hit.'

The one-run game was the fifth Stanford has played in the post-season as the Cardinal are 3-2 in those contests.

The Gamecocks took control of the game with a three-run fifth inning against Stanford starter Mike Gosling. Tim Whittaker singled to center for South Carolina's first hit of the game and Byron Jeffcoat followed with another single to put runners on first and second base. Brennan Dees singled up the middle to score Whitaker and put the Gamecocks on the scoreboard. Tripp Kelly then doubled down the left field line, scoring Jeffcoat and Dees to give the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead and knock Gosling from the contest.

South Carolina added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning on back-to-back doubles by Garris Gonce and Whitaker.

Stanford cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by Arik VanZandt that scored Scott Dragicevich, who had singled and advanced to third base on a two-base throwing error by Gamecocks' relief pitcher Blake Taylor. Chris O'Riordan singled with one out later in the inning and moved to second base on a fielding error by South Carolina center fielder Marcus McBeth but was stranded.

The Cardinal had another serious opportunity in the top of the eighth inning. Carlos Quentin led off the inning by reaching first base on an error by Gamecocks' third baseman Chris Plummer and moved to second when Jason Cooper walked. The runners then moved to second and third base with one out on a successful sacrifice bunt by Andy Topham. However, the runners would be left stranded when South Carolina reliever Lee Gronkiewicz struck out Jonny Ash looking and forced Dragicevich into an inning-ending pop fly to second base.

Gronkiewicz, who entered the game with one out in the seventh inning, pitched a perfect ninth frame to record his nation-leading 19th save of the year.

Taylor (5-3) earned the win for South Carolina, pitching 2.0 innings in relief of starter Gary Bell as he gave up one unearned run, two hits and walked one.

Gosling (7-2) took the loss for Stanford, his second consecutive defeat in the post-season after posting a perfect 7-0 mark in the regular season. He pitched 4.0 innings, surrendering three earned runs and four hits, while walking two and striking out three.

Whittaker was the lone South Carolina player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.

Sam Fuld went 3-for-5 with two doubles to lead the Cardinal, while Dragicevich was 2-for-4.Stanford's Ryan Garko saw his hitting streak stopped at a career-high 21 games, as he was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game.

The victory was South Carolina's first ever over the Cardinal as Stanford had won the previous three games between the schools.

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