South Carolina junior left-hander Michael Roth allowed just one run in eight innings of work to earn his 10th win of the season and was backed by an offense that tallied 14 hits as the top ranked Gamecocks defeated Ole Miss 6-1 on Friday evening at Swayze Field in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series. Carolina is now 37-8 and 18-4 in the SEC while the loss drops Ole Miss to 25-21 and 9-13 in league play. Game two of the series is set for 3 p.m. ET and will be televised live on SportSouth.
Roth battled the entire night and limited Ole Miss to just six hits while striking out six batters and walking one. He is now 10-1 for the season. Senior reliever John Taylor pitched a perfect ninth inning to seal the win. Ole Miss starter Matt Crouse suffered the loss and is 6-4 on the year. He allowed five runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
“Roth was able to mix a little bit,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “He stuck some fastballs when he needed to. His change-up was really good, he located, his stuff was really good and he got us deep into the game.”
Carolina went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. With one out, Scott Wingo was hit by a pitch, the 54th time in his career, a school record. With two outs and Wingo on second base, Brady Thomas knocked a RBI base hit up the middle to give the Gamecocks a one-run edge. The Gamecocks extended the lead to 2-0 in the second inning as Evan Marzilli led off with a double off the wall in right-center and after a Robert Beary single, scored on DeSean Anderson’s RBI sacrifice fly to center field.
Ole Miss got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Miles Hamblin led off with a double and after a wild pitch scored on Austin Anderson’s RBI ground out. The Rebels threatened for more with a pair of infield singles and a fielding error loading the bases with one out against Roth. The Gamecock left-hander battled though and struck out Matt Snyder looking and induced Will Allen into a fly out to right field to keep Carolina ahead by a run.
Ole Miss threatened again in the fifth inning with runners on first and third on base hits by Tanner Mathis and Alex Yarbrough. With one out, Roth got out of the jam on a 6-3 double play to keep Carolina ahead by a run.
“The key to the game was the run scoring opportunities for Ole Miss in the third and the fifth and Roth worked his way out of it,” said Tanner. “We scratched early, had a couple of good at-bats. We really had a good night offensively with double-digit hits and we moved runners over.”
With Roth battling on the mound, the Gamecocks increased the lead to 3-1 in the sixth inning. Adrian Morales singled and after Marzilli’s sacrifice bunt, scored on Robert Beary’s RBI base hit to right-center. Carolina extended it to 5-1 and knocked Crouse from the game in the process in the top of the seventh. Scott Wingo singled to lead off the seventh and scored on Christian Walker’s RBI double to right-center. After Crouse was lifted from the game for reliever Eric Callender, Carolina went ahead by four runs on Jake Williams’ RBI single. South Carolina made it 6-1 in the eighth inning as Wingo dropped a two-out bunt for a base hit that scored Beary.
Carolina’s 14-hit evening featured a 3-for-4 day at the plate for Beary with one run scored and one RBI. Wingo went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI as well. Walker, Morales and Marzilli had two hits apiece also. Tanner Mathis and Alex Yarbrough each were 2-for-4 to lead Ole Miss at the plate.