The second ranked USC baseball team began its national title defense with a 2-1 win over VMI Friday afternoon in front of a packed house at Carolina Stadium. LB Dantzler delivered the game winning hit, a two strike, two out, eighth inning line drive to center , that plated Evan Marzilli and gave the Gamecocks a winning start in its quest for a third straight national championship.
The 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium were treated to plenty of good pitching. USC ace Michael Roth allowed one run on four hits and struck out six in his six innings of work. The game was tied at one when Roth left the game after throwing 89 pitches. VMI right hander Coby Cowgill allowed just one run on seven hits and struck out two in his seven innings of work.
Tyler Webb relieved Roth and ended up with the win for the Gamecocks. He pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. Forrest Koumas picked up the final two outs to earn the save.
There were a lot of new faces on Ray Tanner’s lineup card. Six players were making their first career start at USC, including four freshmen. Those newbies accounted for six of the Gamecocks nine hits. Marzilli had the other three hits.
AUDIO: Ray Tanner postgame interview
AUDIO: Evan Marzilli, Michael Roth and LB Dantzler post game
USC will send Matt Price to the mound tomorrow. The game has been moved to a noon start because of the threat of rain. Sunday’s series finale is still scheduled for 1:30.