Saturday, June 1, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery tallied a career-high 11 strikeouts, and the Gamecocks collected 19 hits en route to a 19-3 victory over Liberty in game four of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Saturday night at Carolina Stadium.
Montgomery, who improved to 5-1 on the season with the victory, allowed just three hits in seven scoreless inning of work to lead South Carolina (41-18) to its 26th-straight postseason win at home, including a 15-0 mark at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks were just as impressive at the plate, as 11 players finished with at least one hit and six tallied multiple hits. Carolina also drew seven walks, and the 19 runs scored are the second most in a postseason game in school history, falling just short of the 21 scored against Florida International in the 1998 Atlantic Regional.
Sophomore Kyle Martin went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, while sophomore Tanner English delivered a 3-for-6 effort with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Gamecocks. Senior Chase Vergason, sophomore Grayson Greiner, sophomore Connor Bright and sophomore TJ Costen added two hits apiece, while freshman Max Schrock had a two-run home run.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the top of the first inning using some outstanding patience at the plate, drawing four walks off Liberty starter Brooks Roy. Vergason got things started with a one-out single through the right side. Sophomore Joey Pankake then reached on a fielder’s choice, and Vergason advanced safely to second on a throwing error by Roy. After senior LB Dantzler drew a walk to load the bases, Greiner grounded to Roy, who then threw home to get the second out of the inning. However, Martin, junior Graham Saiko and Bright drew back-to-back-to-back walks off Roy to score Pankake, Dantzler and Greiner, giving the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
With the Gamecocks building the early lead, Montgomery came out dominating on the mound, recording six strikeouts through the first two innings.
Carolina kept the momentum going at the plate in the top of the third. After Greiner and Martin delivered back-to-back singles to begin the inning, Saiko laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with no outs. Bright followed with a single to center field, driving in both Greiner and Martin to push the Gamecocks’ lead to 5-0. English added to the lead in the next at bat as he launched a two-run blast over the left-field wall, the first of his career, to make it a 7-0 ballgame.
The Gamecocks tacked on two more runs in the fifth to build a 9-0 cushion. Bright came through with a one-out single and stole second base before Schrock smashed a two-run home run to right field, his sixth of the year.
Dantzler scored on a sacrifice fly by Saiko in the sixth to give Carolina a 10-0 lead.
The Gamecocks pushed across nine more runs in the eighth, highlighted by a three-run home run to right field by Martin, to build a 19-0 lead.
Liberty (35-28) broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the ninth on a three-run home run to left field by senior Justin Sizemore. Sizemore went 2-for-4 on the night to lead the Flames.
Roy (7-6) was tagged with the loss after surrendering three unearned runs and walking four batters in 2/3 of an inning of work.
Liberty will face Clemson in an elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that contest will match up with the Gamecocks at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN3. Live stats will also be available at Gamecocksonline.com.