May 13, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- The seventh-ranked South Carolina baseball team came out on the winning end of a slugfest that featured 30 hits and five home runs Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Gamecocks posted a series-clinching 13-7 win over Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers now stand at 30-22 (11-14 SEC) on the year and will look to make one final run at an SEC Tournament berth next weekend at Florida.
The Vols and Gamecocks (38-15, 15-12 SEC) both pounded out 15 hits Sunday, but Carolina's five extra-base hits included three home runs that brought its weekend homer total to eight. Freshman pitcher Blake Cooper picked up the win to improve to 7-1 on the year, while Vols senior Craig Cobb fell to 7-5 with the loss.
Tennessee second baseman Tony Delmonico was among three Vols with three hits, and he also hit his seventh home run of the season. He hit .538 on the weekend with three RBIs.
The Tennessee bats started out hot Sunday, as the Vols scored three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning to take an early lead for the second straight game. Preseason All-America centerfielder Julio Borbon had an RBI basehit, designated hitter Jeff Lockwood plated another run with an RBI groundout, and third baseman Cody Brown added an RBI single to cap the three-run rally.
But the Gamecocks' bats were equally as potent in the bottom of the first. South Carolina answered UT's outburst with an even more impressive five runs on four hits. Designated hitter Phil Disher drove in three with a double off the top of the wall in right-center. James Darnell and Steven Reinhold also chipped in with RBIs earlier in the inning.
Carolina third baseman James Darnell entered Sunday's series-finale as the only player among the team's Nos. 1-4 hitters without a home run on the weekend, but he remedied that with a solo blast in the fourth inning. Darnell's 17th homer of the season put the Gamecocks up by a score of 6-3.
Vols left fielder Andy Simunic led off the bottom of the fifth by stretching a basehit up the middle into a double, and he scored on the next at-bat when Borbon sent an RBI single through the left side of the Carolina infield. But the Gamecocks erased that run in the top of the sixth when outfielder Andrew Crisp led off the frame with a solo homer over the wall in right field.
After a single by Brown in the bottom of the fifth, Tennessee junior Shawn Griffin slugged a pinch-hit, two-run homer that cut South Carolina's lead to a single run, 7-6. It was Griffin's fifth home run of the season, pushing UT's team total to 40. The homer came in Griffin's first plate appearance of the series.
Carolina continued to produce offensively in the seventh, scoring three runs on four hits. Reinhold and shortstop Reese Havens combined to drive in all three runs, helping the Gamecocks build a four-run cushion.
Delmonico added to his solid weekend performance by smacking a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, making it a three-run game. The homer tied Delmonico with freshman Yan Gomes for the team lead.
Tennessee couldn't keep the Gamecocks off the board in the eighth, however, as catcher Trent Kline scored from second base on an infield error. The Vols put runners on first and second in the bottom of the frame, but SC reliever Curtis Johnson came on to close out the frame and prevent UT from chipping away at its four-run deficit. Johnson would remain in the game to work the ninth as well, earning his second save of the season.
Disher unleashed a towering two-run blast in the top of the ninth that made the score 13-7 and closed out the day's scoring. It was South Carolina's eighth home run of the series and its 98th of the year.
The Vols now trail the all-time series with South Carolina 31-36.
UT's final midweek game of the season is Tuesday night against Tennessee Tech. The Vols then travel to Gainesville, Fla., for a three-game series against Florida that runs Thursday through Saturday at UF's McKethan Stadium.