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Pearce Pushes South Carolina Past Michigan, 6-5

June 3, 2005

ATLANTA – Aaron Rawl (9-5) worked 7 2/3 strong innings, allowing four runs and struck out three, and Steve Pearce went 3-for-5, driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, to lead second-seeded South Carolina (39-21) over third-seeded Michigan (41-18), 6-5, on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Right-handed pitcher Brent Marsh (4-3) picked up the win for the Gamecocks in relief, throwing the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit. USC’s Neil Giesler finished the day 2-for-4, with two runs batted in and Steven Tolleson went 2-for-3, with a walk and one RBI to pace the Gamecocks offensively.

U of M’s Jared Brauer (7-2) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, four earned runs, eight hits and struck out four in a no decision. The Wolverines’ Kyle Bohm led the offensive charge with a 2-for-5 performance, with a home run and two runs batted in.

The Gamecocks struck first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning as Giesler drove in Michael Campbell and Pearce scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a single.

The Wolverines responded in the top of the second inning with two runs of their own on a Doug Pickens RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Eric Rose. UM took the lead in the top of the third inning on a Bohm line shot home run to left field, his fifth of the season, as the Wolverines led 3-2.

USC had an answer in the bottom half of the third with three consecutive singles and a second RBI off the bat of Giesler.

UM’s Brad Roblin gave the Wolverines a lead for a second time in the game, 4-3, in the top of the seventh inning, driving in Leif Mahler who reached on a single.

The Gamecocks wasted little time overcoming the one-run deficit as USC’s Michael Campbell had an RBI double down the right field line and Tolleson followed with an RBI single up the middle to give South Carolina a 5-4 lead in the bottom half of the seventh inning.

With two outs and trailing by one, U of M’s Bohm singled to right field to plate Mahler, who led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Rose, as the Wolverines and Gamecocks were knotted at five.

The Gamecocks will play the winner of top-seeded Georgia Tech (42-16) and No. 4 seed Furman (30-27) at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium. Michigan will face the loser of Tech and Furman at Noon on Saturday.

LINE SCORE                     R-H-EMICH    0-2-1-0-0-0-1-0-1      5-12-1USC     2-0-1-0-0-0-2-0-1      6-11-0

JUNE 3, 2005

Head Coach Rich Maloney

“I think you just witnessed a great ballgame. Two outstanding teams that played a great game. It was a tough one for us to lose, but I tip my hat to South Carolina, they battled and our kids battled, unfortunately we came out with the short end of the stick, but I thought it was a great college baseball game to open the tournament with.”

On the first inning
“This is the first time we’re in a regional, so our kids hadn’t experienced this and they had jitters, and it cost us early in the game. We didn’t play the baseball we normally play, we gave them two runs in the first inning. South Carolina has been to three straight World Series and they are an experienced team.”

On deciding to keep the runner at third on the shallow fly ball to left field in the 9th inning
“Not really, it wasn’t hit very far and we had good hitters in the lineup that were coming to bat. It was really shallow, I think they could of hit the cut off man and still get the guy out at home, Leif [Mahler] isn’t the fastest runner, and Brad [Roblin] had some big hits for us in conference and Kyle [Bohm] has been our top RBI guy the last two years, so I was confident that we could still get the run in.”

First baseman Kyle Bohm

On USC pitcher Aaron Rawl
“Basically, he was throwing a fastball and a slurve. He left some pitches over the plate and our guys were able to capitalize. But to his credit, he was able to comeback from adversity and shut us down.”

Starting pitcher Jim Brauer

On hitting the leadoff batter in the 7th inning
“My job is to get the leadoff hitter, especially in the bottom of their lineup because the top of their lineup is so good. I got behind in the count and tried to throw a two-seem [fastball] and it came in and hit him. I really regret how I handled that, but at the same time, it got away from me and hindsight is 20-20.”


South Carolina Head Coach Ray Tanner

“I’m very happy to be on the winning side at the end because I thought it was a great college baseball game. Some great pitching out there, and we made some nice defensive plays, as they did. We were very fortunate to come out on top.

” I was really impressed with Michigan. I thought Brauer had really good stuff. We got some good hacks off him early, but he had really good stuff and he settled in.

“You get a chance to stay in the winner’s bracket, so you feel good, but you’ve still got a ways to go. That game was two hours and 50 minutes, but I felt like it was a five hour game, there was so much going on and so many decisions to be made. We were moving guys around, trying to get guys in the right spot, trying to get guys in the bullpen ready and trying to make decisions offensively. It was really an outstanding baseball game.

“I’m not going to do a whole of thinking (about who they play tomorrow). I know we’re going to play tomorrow and we’ll just see how this game unfolds. Furman is the only undefeated team in the SEC – they beat Tennessee, and they beat us twice. They’ve got a great club, and they really scrap. And of course Georgia Tech can throw up a 10-spot on you in a hurry. Pick your poison, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to get to play tomorrow and hopefully we’ll play well.

P Aaron Rawl

“The defensive played great today. We didn’t make any errors, and they made a lot of plays for me. Anytime you can get an out without having to throw three pitches to strike them out, that helps your pitch count lets you go a little bit longer.

CF Davy Gregg

(Play at second in the ninth) “It was a close play. It was kind of a pop up-bunt, so I had to hesitate at first and make sure it got down. I figured we’d be sac-ing, but I got into second. Then Coach Toman was screaming his head off at third. I kind of glanced up and saw that no one was at third and no one was relatively close, so I took off.

SS Steven Tolleson

“In the postseason, you want your veteran players to step up and kick start the team a little bit. It was great to see us step up today. Tomorrow’s game, you never know, it might be five-through-nine that carries us. We’re excited to get our offense going a little bit. Coach Tanner has been on us to get the top five guys in the order to all hit at the same time.


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