March 29, 2015

Georgia takes series from USC with 4-3 victory Saturday night (VIDEO)

Martin's 9th inning homer made it close (File Photo)

Martin’s 9th inning homer made it close (File Photo)

Georgia raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings and despite a two-run homer by Kyle Martin and a late Gamecock rally the Bulldogs defeated seventh ranked South Carolina 4-3 on Saturday afternoon. Georgia is now 18-10 and 5-3 in the SEC with the Gamecocks dropping to 18-9 and 4-4 in league play.

Georgia would take advantage of a Gamecock error to go ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Skylar Weber reached base on a one-out throwing error and Zack Bowers was hit by a pitch to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners. Jared Walsh would drive in Weber with a RBI single and Trevor Kieboom added a two-out RBI base hit. The Bulldogs increased their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second inning. Weber drove in a run with a RBI single and Bowers set down a successful safety squeeze.

The Gamecocks cut the Bulldogs lead to three runs in the fourth inning. Jordan Gore singled with one out, advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a wild pitch. DC Arendas would draw a one-out walk to give the Gamecocks runners on the corners. With two outs, Gene Cone would belt a RBI single into right field scoring Gore.

It would remain that way until the ninth inning when Gene Cone led off the ninth with a walk. With one out and Cone on first base, Martin launched his team-leading fifth homer over the right field wall to cut the deficit to one run. Down to the last out, the Gamecocks kept fighting as Alex Destinosingled and pinch runner Clark Scolamiero stole second to get into scoring position. Georgia reliever Sean McLaughlin was able to get out of the jam on a groundout to short off the bat of Logan Koch to end the game.

McLaughlin earned the win after 4.1 innings of relief allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Gamecock starter Reed Scott suffered the loss and is 0-1 on the season. Scott allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and three walks. Right-hander Preston Johnson recorded six outs with six strikeouts in two scoreless innings of relief for the Gamecocks.

Gene Cone went 3-for-4, Kyle Martin went 2-for-4 and Jordan Gore was 2-for-3 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.

Box Score

Jack Wynkoop & DC Arendas post game

Georgia wins rain delayed opening game over USC

Wil Crowe started Friday night and took the loss in the game that was resumed Saturday. (file photo)

Wil Crowe started Friday night and took the loss in the game that was resumed Saturday. (file photo)

Mike Bell’s RBI single in the top of the 11th lifted Georgia to a 6-5 win over seventh-ranked South Carolina in resumption of Friday night’s game. The Bulldogs improve to 17-10 and 4-3 in the SEC while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 18-8 and 4-3 in league play.

The Bulldogs got on the board early with a run in the top of the first. Skyler Weber drew a one-out walk, advanced to third on a single by Daniel Nichols and scored on a wild pitch from Gamecock starter Wil Crowe.

South Carolina pushed across a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game a 1-1. After a pair of walks to Jordan Gore and Max Schrock put two runners on base, Kyle Martin singled up the middle to drive in Gore.

The Gamecocks followed with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 3-1 lead. A two-run single off the bat of Schrock with the bases loaded drove in Logan Koch and Gore.

Georgia tied it in the sixth inning. Skyler Weber and Zack Bowers opened the sixth with a pair of singles to put two runners on base for the Bulldogs. Brandon Stephens drove in Weber with a RBI single and Keegan McGovern followed with a two-out RBI double to bring home Bowers and tie the game at 3-3.

South Carolina responded with a run in the bottom of the six as DC Arendas opened frame with a leadoff walk and scored after three consecutive two-out walks, giving the Gamecocks a 4-3 advantage.

Bowers put the Bulldogs ahead 5-4 with a two-run double to left-center in the top of the seventh.

A pair of wild pitches from Georgia reliever Bo Tucker scored a run for South Carolina in bottom of the eighth. With one out and Schrock and Gene Cone on first and second, respectively, Tucker through wild to advance both runners in to scoring position. While intentionally walking Martin, Tucker threw a second wild pitch allowing Cone to score.

The game was halted due to rain prior to the start of the ninth inning and resumed Saturday afternoon.

Georgia opened the top of the 11th with a leadoff single off the bat of Keegan McGovern. Trevor Kieboom then sacrificed pinch runner DJ Smith over to second and Mike Bell brought him home with a RBI single up the middle.

Junior left-hander Jack Wynkoop suffers the loss in relief after allowing one run on three hits while striking out five batters in three innings of work. Georgia reliever Jared Cheek worked 3.2 scoreless innings to earn the win allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out three batters.

Check out some cool old trophies tucked away at Williams-Brice Stadium

There are some vintage trophies laying around side rooms at Williams-Brice Stadium.

There are some vintage trophies laying around side rooms at Williams-Brice Stadium.

USC held a closed scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium today so the media was asked to hang out in what is called the photo work room, located off the Hall of Captains underneath the West stands. So as I’m sitting there I notice, tucked away on top of some filing cabinets in the corner of the room, some older looking trophies.

I was curious so I went in for a closer look. There were all sorts of things on laying on the filing cabinets, from a  team offensive MVP award for George Rodgers for his performance in a game against Georgia Tech, to some really cool old trophies that were given to Steve Wadiak, one of the Gamecocks legendary past players. There’s been books written about “Cadillac” Wadiak.  A small part of Wadiak’s legacy is tucked into the corner of an inconspicuous room at Williams-Brice.

Check it out:

Steve Wadiak's 1950 Southern Conference Player of the Year award.

Steve Wadiak’s 1950 Southern Conference Player of the Year award.

There was a lot of hardware up there  with Wadiak’s name on it, including (not pictured) a large plaque that honored the famous Gamecock football start that was big enough to be hung on the side of a building or wall. Here’s a trophy for Wadiak earned for the “Outstanding Player” of the homecoming game in 1949. In the background is another trophy with Wadiak’s name on it.

More of Steve Wadiak's hardware.

More of Steve Wadiak’s hardware.

There were also a couple of bowl game trophies hanging around. There was this rather large one commemorating a “runner-up” in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.

Here's the trophy USC got after a 24-14 loss to Missouri in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl.

Here’s the trophy USC got after a 24-14 loss to Missouri in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl.

There’s also the participation trophy from the 1975 Tangerine Bowl game, a 20-7 loss to Miami of Ohio.

USC's trophy from the 1975 Tangerine Bowl appearance.

USC’s trophy from the 1975 Tangerine Bowl appearance.

I inquired about how these trophies ended up stuffed back in the corner of this room, but wasn’t able to get an answer. Some of these artifacts, especially the Wadiak items, should probably be in a more public and prominent location.  Regardless, I thought they were worth sharing here.

Listen to Steve Spurrier and Jon Hoke break down USC’s first spring scrimmage (AUDIO)

Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier

The University of South Carolina football team moved into Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday morning, where the squad held its first scrimmage of the spring. The Gamecocks have reached the midway point of their spring drills, as eight of the allotted 15 practices have been completed.

The Gamecock offense focused on the passing game for much of Saturday’s scrimmage, with the quarterbacks combining to complete their first 14 passes. The quartet of Connor Mitch, Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia and Brendan Nosovitch finished the day 22-of-33 for 233 yards with one interception. The only turnover in the game came when freshman linebacker Jalen Henry intercepted a pass from Mitch. Redshirt freshman tight end Jacob August was the top receiver with five catches for 44 yards.

“We came out and let the quarterbacks pitch it around a little bit,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the scrimmage. “I was hoping all of them would get at least 10 throws. The receivers did pretty well. We still had several drops. The guys caught some and dropped some too. I don’t think anybody got hurt, which is always a priority when we scrimmage. The O-line did ok. We had some protection issues early. I think six offensive linemen played the whole scrimmage. They went the distance and hung in there pretty good,” noted the Head Ball Coach. “The defense did some good things here and there. Overall, it was pretty good I thought for the offensive guys.”

“There were some good things and some things we’ve got to get better at (on the defensive side of the ball),” said co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke. “We’re still not as clean as you’d like to be. I thought the effort for the most part was getting better to what we’re looking for. We’ve still got a ways to go. We’re always going to be about assignment, alignment, technique and key,” added Hoke. “Those four things are going to drive us. We want to make sure we understand what we’re doing, what are alignments are going to be, what our technique is, and how well we can read our key.”

Hoke indicated that most of the defense has been installed. “Now it’s an opportunity for us to keep getting reps, and reps and reps,” said Hoke. “We’re looking forward to that.”

Hoke identified newcomer Marquavius Lewis and the linebacking corps as standouts in the early part of camp. “The whole group has really done a good job overall,” said Hoke. “For (Lewis) being his first time being here, he fits.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Tuesday, March 31. That practice will be open to the public.

SCORING PLAYS:

David Williams 1-yard run (Elliott Fry kick) Elliott Fry 23-yard field goal

PASSING:

Perry Orth 7-9-0-80; Connor Mitch 6-11-1-74; Michael Scarnecchia 9-12-0-72; Brendan Nosovitch 1-1-0-7. TOTALS: 23-33-1-233.

RUSHING:

Rod Talley 2-14; Devin Potter 2-6; Shon Carson 1-5; Brendan Nosovitch 1-5; David Williams 2-2; Brandon Wilds 1-1; Darius Paulk 2-0; Rondreas Truesdale 1-(-1); Perry Orth 1-(-4); Michael Scarnecchia 2-(-12); Connor Mitch 2-(-16). TOTALS: 17-0.

RECEIVING:

Jacob August 5-44; Deebo Samuel 2-29; Matrick Belton 2-29; Shamier Jeffery 2-19; Terry Googer 2-19; Rod Talley 2-17; Carlton Heard 1-23; Shon Carson 1-16; Shaq Davidson 1-13; Clayton Stadnik 1-10; Devin Potter 1-9; Darius Paulk 1-7; David Williams 1-0; Kevin Crosby 1-(-2). TOTALS: 23-223.

AUDIO: Steve Spurrier [4:00]

AUDIO: Jon Hoke [3:30]

Gamecocks vanquish Tar Heels in Greensboro to reach Elite Eight (VIDEO)

The Gamecocks celebrate  the Sweet 16 win over UNC (Credit: Rob Kinnan USA Today Sports)

The Gamecocks celebrate the Sweet 16 win over UNC (Credit: Rob Kinnan USA Today Sports)

Junior Tiffany Mitchell hit a layup with 3.5 seconds on the clock, capping a furious final 90 seconds to deliver a 67-65 win over No. 15/12 North Carolina and send No. 3/4 South Carolina to the Elite Eight for just the second time in program history. Contributions came from a variety of sources, but three were in the deciding moment. Senior Olivia Gaines and sophomore Alaina Coates hit big shots to put the Gamecocks in a position in win, and two-time SEC Player of Year Mitchell finished off the rally with a hard baseline drive. Mitchell and Coates led the Gamecocks with a game-high 18 points each. Coates added 10 rebounds to post her 12th double-double of the year.

The Tar Heels got off to a quick start, jumping out to an 8-0 lead by pushing the tempo and going inside to Stephanie Mavunga in the first two minutes. Asia Dozier hit an open look at the 17:46 mark for the Gamecocks’ first points of the night. Mavunga answered with her third basket, but then North Carolina missed its next 10 shots over a six-minute stretch as South Carolina picked up the intensity on the defensive end.

Allisha Gray drove to the basket for layups on back-to-back Tar Heel possessions to put them on top 15-7 with 10:52 to play, breaking the six-minute drought. After Gray’s scores, South Carolina held North Carolina without a basket for another five-minute stretch as the Gamecocks continued to lock down on the defensive end. The Gamecocks pulled within three at 17-14 during the Tar Heel drought.

With 4:36 remaining in the half, Tina Roy tied the contest at 19-19 with a long-range 3-pointer, and the Gamecocks took their first lead on the following possession. Coates tipped a free throw miss out to Aleighsa Welch, and after resetting the offense, Mitchell hit Coates for a layup to deliver the 21-19 advantage.

North Carolina’s Latifah Coleman swished a long 3 just before the buzzer to draw within 29-25 at the break. After making four of its first six shots, South Carolina allowed the Tar Heels to hit just six of its last 26 first-half attempts.

Mitchell heated up at the start of the second half, draining a pair of jumpers on the Gamecocks’ first two possessions, but North Carolina got back into the contest thanks to a few Gamecock turnovers.

The Tar Heels briefly took the lead at 38-37 six minutes into the period, then South Carolina went on an 8-1 run over the next minutes ignited by Coates. First, the center drew a foul and hit both free throws, then, she got position in the paint for a bucket, and cleaned up her own miss on her third-straight touch. On the defensive end, Coates teamed with A’ja Wilson to force a turnover that sent Mitchell the other way for a quick layup. The play prompted a North Carolina timeout after the run put the Gamecocks back on top 45-39 with 12 minutes to play.

After a Roy 3 put the Gamecocks on up 55-52 with 5:43 to go, North Carolina scored seven unanswered points in just over a minute to take its largest lead of the second half. Roy stopped the bleeding with her fourth 3 of the night to pull back within one with 4:10 to go.

Down by three with 1:30 left, Gaines forced a Coleman miss and drew a foul on the rebound. The senior missed the free throw, but got her own rebound. Seconds later, Gaines found herself in the deep left corner and let a shot go. The ball rattled around the rim as she fell down, but dropped through the net to tie the contest with 1:01 on the clock. On the ensuing possession, Jessica Washington missed a 3, and Coates drew Mavunga’s fifth foul on the rebound. With 46 seconds to play, Coates calmly hit both free throws to put the Gamecocks back on top by two.

Looking to tie, North Carolina sent Brittany Roundtree to the basket, but she couldn’t hit the layup. The ball went out of bounds, but stayed with the Tar Heels and the second chance allowed Washington to knot the contest at 65-65 with 27.2 seconds to go. After a pair of timeouts, the Gamecocks set up a chance to re-take the lead and in the waning seconds, Mitchell took matters into her own hands, driving the baseline and making a spin move for an open layup with 3.5 seconds. The shot proved to be the game-winner as North Carolina’s last attempt was well off the mark.

Mitchell dished out five assists in the contest while Coates was 10-of-10 from the free throw line, a season-high. Roy doubled her previous NCAA Tournament high with 12 points as she hit four of South Carolina’s seven 3-pointers. The Gamecock also pulled down an NCAA Tournament career high five rebounds.

Box Score

USC post game press conference