Ohio State closer Seth Klinker, he of the Big Ten best 15 saves and Big Ten best 1.49 ERA, had not allowed a home run all season when he relieved starter Connor Curlis to start the seventh inning of Friday’s NCAA Regional Tournament game against USC in Greenville, NC. And Danny Blair, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Noah Campbell to start the sixth, had but one homer on the season, not to mention a .186 batting average. Funny things do happen in baseball.
The Gamecocks could do nothing with Curlis. The lefty left after six innings with a four hit shutout. But it was a different story against Klinker as he was greeted by back to back singles and Blair’s three run homer. That sparked a five run rally and led the Gamecocks to an 8-3 win and into Saturday afternoon’s winner’s bracket game at 5:00 PM.
Justin Row, who along with Carlos Cortes had three hits, completed the seventh inning uprising with a two run single. The Gamecocks iced the game with a three run eighth.
Adam Hill pitched well but didn’t pitch long. He yielded a second inning home run and was lifted after a leadoff walk in the fifth. He allowed just the one run on four hits and threw 92 pitches. Eddie Demurias handled innings five thru seven and scattered four hits and did not allow an earned run. He got the win to improve to 7-0. And Graham Lawson finished up allowing two hits and no earned runs.
Cody Morris, who is 7-3 with a 3.80 ERA, will start Saturday’s game.
USC press conference with Mark Kingson, Justin Row, Danny Blair & Graham Lawson