Bulldogs Stay Alive In NCAA Corvallis Regional, Win 7-3
|Georgia 7, Arkansas-Little Rock 3
|Arkansas 3, New Mexico 0
|Florida 5, Miami (Fla.) 4
|Vanderbilt 10, Troy 2
|Mississippi State 8, Austin Peay 3
|Florida State 9, Alabama 5
|South Carolina 11, Stetson 5
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Alex Wood pitched eight strong innings and Levi Hyams went 4-for-5 to lead Georgia to a 7-3 win over Arkansas-Little Rock Saturday in an NCAA Regional elimination game at Goss Stadium.
Hyams set the tone for the Bulldogs when he led off the game with a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fifth blast of the season. Incidentally, it marked the first time a Bulldog began a contest with a home run since Zach Cone did it in the 2009 NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional against Ohio State. The Bulldogs eventually loaded the bases with two outs before right-hander Calvin Drinnen retired third baseman Curt Powell on a groundout. It was the first action for Powell who missed the last three games due to a cracked bone in his left hand. Powell was hit by a Matt Price (South Carolina) pitch in the SEC Tournament last Friday in Hoover, Ala.
“I was just trying to square it up today and not do too much,” said Hyams. “It was kind of nice to do that (leadoff home run). I haven’t done that before, and it was good to get an early run on the board for us.”
The Trojans (24-34) threatened in the third on back-to-back base hits by Cameron Bentley and Greg Garcia. Wood fell behind Myles Parma 2-0 and then spun around and fired a strike to shortstop Kyle Farmer to pick off Bentley at second. It was a team-high sixth pickoff for Wood. He retired the next two hitters to keep it 1-0.
“Kyle and I have worked on that play a lot this year, and it’s worked for us a few times,” said Wood on the pickoff. “It’s a good way to cut down on the pressure in an inning.”
Georgia (32-31) gave itself some breathing room with a four-run outburst in the fifth. Hyams collected his third hit of the afternoon on a line drive that knocked the glove off of Drinnen and the ball came out. Hyams made it to third on a stolen base and a fielder’s choice and scored on a run-scoring single by Cone. With two on and one out, designated hitter Brett DeLoach launched a three-run home run to right to make it 5-0 Georgia. It was the fifth home run of the year for the sophomore.
The Trojans came right back in their half of the fifth. Four straight two-out hits plus a wild pitch resulted in three runs, highlighted by an RBI-single by Parma and a two-run single by Jason Houston. It trimmed their deficit to 5-3.
Georgia responded with a two-run rally of its own in the sixth. The Bulldogs were aided by a two-out Trojan wild pitch and a failed pickoff attempt that scored the runs to push their lead to 7-3. In the frame, Hyams notched his fourth hit of the day, a bloop double that followed a leadoff double from Peter Verdin. Drinnen was lifted in the frame, allowing six runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. Georgia got a run off left-hander Ryan Jurris and then Nick Grimmett came on later in that inning and went the rest of the way.
In the eighth, Hyams’ shot at going 5-for-5 on the day ended on a diving catch by right fielder Hector Acosta. He was a triple shy of the cycle at that point too. Bulldog junior left-hander Chase Hawkins pitched the ninth to preserve the victory as the game ended on a sterling defensive play by Powell at third. Wood improved to 6-7 on the year while Drinnen fell to 6-7.
“Alex was solid, very solid today, and Levi has been our go-to-guy to get us started, and he did that too,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We played a complete game, and I was proud to see that. Arkansas-Little Rock made a run after we had our big inning, and we were able to get through that and now we look forward to playing again Sunday.”
Saturday’s victory was the 337th for Perno in his 10th season at the Georgia helm, as he moved in to second place in school history for career coaching wins, passing “Big” Jim Whatley (336-327-3). The only Bulldog baseball coach with more wins is Steve Webber who amassed a record of 500-403-1 in 16 years.
Georgia will play at 4 p.m. EDT Sunday against the loser of Saturday night’s winner’s bracket game featuring No. 1 seed Oregon State and No. 2 seed Creighton. If the Bulldogs win Sunday, they would play another game at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday against tonight’s OSU-Creighton winner.
Arkansas shuts out New Mexico, 3-0
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale earned his 10th win of the year, throwing eight shutout innings, as No. 19 Arkansas stayed alive at the NCAA Tempe Regional with a 3-0 win over New Mexico on a hot Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 39-21 on the season, while New Mexico ends its season with a 20-41 record.
Arkansas advances to play tomorrow at 3 p.m. (CT) against the loser of tonight’s game between top seed Arizona State and No. 3 seed Charlotte. A free webcast of the game will be available on FoxSportsArizona.com.
Baxendale, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and an All-SEC selection, turned in a spectacular performance in a season full of them for the sophomore righty. Pitching in triple digit temperatures, the Jacksonville, Ark., native tossed eight shutout innings, scattering just four hits and striking out seven on 131 pitches to improve his record to 10-2 on the season. Baxendale becomes the first Arkansas pitcher to record double-digit victories in a season since Nick Schmidt won 11 games in 2007.
Trent Daniel came in and closed the door in the ninth, striking out the side to earn his fourth save of the season. With Daniel’s shutout inning in the ninth, the Arkansas bullpen has now thrown 23 straight scoreless innings.
The shutout for Arkansas was the sixth in NCAA Tournament history for the Razorbacks. The last time Arkansas shut out an opponent in the NCAA Tournament was in 2009 when the Razorbacks blanked Oklahoma, 11-0, in the regional championship game of the Norman Regional.
New Mexico starter Richard Olson (3-8) pitched well, but took the loss after giving up two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings.
Jarrod McKinney was the offensive hero for the Razorbacks, tying a career-high with three hits in four at bats. McKinney had a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Franco Broyles also had two hits in the win, while Bo Bigham and Matt Reynolds each had a RBI.
Collin Kuhn tied the Arkansas school record for career hit by pitches in the game after getting plunked for the 52nd time in his career. With his next HBP, Kuhn will set the school record, which was previously held by Jack Welsh (1997-2000).
Mitchell Garver had half of New Mexico’s four hits in the game, going 2-for-4. Luke Campbell and Jacob Nelson each had one hit.
Arkansas grabbed an early lead with two runs in the top of the second. Kuhn lined a leadoff double down the left field to lead off the inning. After Kyle Robinson lined out to short for the first out of the inning, McKinney bounced a double inside the third base bag and down the left field line to score Kuhn for the first run of the game. Broyles then reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Matt Reynolds laid down a safety squeeze bunt in front of the mound. Olson flipped to the catcher to try to retire McKinney, but the tag was late as McKinney scored to put the Razorbacks in front 2-0.
New Mexico had its first scoring chance of the game in the home half of the second. Campbell had the Lobos first hit with a single up the middle, but he was quickly erased on a caught stealing. Garver and Nelson followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out. Alex Allbritton attempted to lay down a safety squeeze, but his bunt was too close to the plate as the runner from third was unable to score. Nelson moved up to second on the bunt by Allbritton. Baxendale worked out of the jam by getting Trey Porras to pop out to first.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively after the second inning, but Arkansas was able to score an insurance run in the top of the ninth. McKinney started the rally with a single into left field and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Rice. After Reynolds struck out swinging for the second out, Bigham came through with a big two-out single to left field, scoring McKinney.
Top-seeded Florida Uses Walk-Off Single To Upend Second-seeded Miami (Fla.), 5-4
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) delivered a walk-off single with one down and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to lift top-seeded Florida (47-16) past second-seeded Miami (Fla.) (37-22), 5-4, in the winner’s bracket of the NCAA Gainesville Regional on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.
The Hurricanes will meet third-seeded Jacksonville (37-23) in an elimination game tomorrow at 12 p.m., with the survivor needing to defeat the Gators twice to advance to next weekend’s NCAA Super Regional. Florida will face tomorrow afternoon’s winner at 4 p.m., live on ESPNU.
With the contest deadlocked at 4-4, junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) reached on a one-out error by UM sophomore shortstop Stephen Perez and advanced to second base when junior reliever Travis Miller (2-2) was charged with a balk. Redshirt sophomore Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (1-for-3) earned a free pass for two Gators aboard and junior closer Daniel Miranda was called in from the bullpen. With sophomore Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) at the plate, the lefty uncorked a wild pitch to advance both runners into scoring position. Dent worked a walk on a 3-2 count to fill the sacks and set the stage for Fontana (2-for-5), who sliced a 1-1 pitch into left field to drive in Pigott with the winning run. It was the Gators’ second walk-off victory of the season, the last courtesy of an RBI single by Pigott to edge No. 4 Florida State on March 15, 5-4, in 10 innings. Junior Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.) (5-3) earned the win after notching three-consecutive outs in the ninth after permitting a leadoff double.
“It was a great game,” UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Both teams played very well, back-and-forth, all game long. We knew when we had a 4-2 lead that the game was certainly far from over and they battled all day at the plate. I thought we threw the ball pretty good and I thought Miami had good at-bats all day. You’ve got to tip your cap to our guys. I was really proud of the way they battled all day. It was a hard-fought game by both sides. We just happened to get some breaks at the end, but I’m awfully proud about the way we played all day long.”
Back in the first inning, the Gators put two runners aboard against sophomore Eric Whaley but came away empty-handed. Senior Bryson Smith (Watkinsville, Ga.) (2-for-3) was hit by a pitch with one down and freshman right fielder Dale Carey made a tremendous diving catch to rob junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-4, two doubles) of potential extra bases. Sophomore Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) (2-for-4) sliced a two-out single into left field and Whaley worked out of trouble by having a fielder’s choice from senior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) force Zunino at second to end the frame.
Miami opened the scoring against sophomore Hudson Randall (Atlanta. Ga.) in the third inning on a sacrifice fly into center field by junior Nathan Melendres. Freshman Brad Fieger (2-for-4) had started the stanza with his 13th double and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by freshman Shane Rowland. Sophomore Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4) drew a walk for runners on the corners and Melendres lofted his second sac fly of the campaign to break the ice.
Perez provided the Hurricanes with a 2-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI double. Junior Harold Martinez led off with a base-hit into left field and scored on Perez’s 12th two-bagger of the season into left center with one down. After Carey grounded out, Perez notched his 14th theft by taking third base. Randall had Fieger ground out to keep the Gators down by two runs.
Florida answered with three doubles in the bottom of the inning to even the game at 2-2. Tucker opened with a two-bagger into the right-field corner and Zunino followed with his team-leading 21st double into left center to put the hosts on the board. Adams sacrificed Zunino to third base with a bunt and third baseman Fieger dropped a one-out pop-up in foul territory by junior Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) for an error. Moments later, Thompson tied the contest with his fifth double of the season to right field. Thompson was erased at third base on a fielder’s choice by junior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who was caught stealing to complete the inning.
In the fifth, DeVoss reached on a one-out infield single and Melendres was hit by a pitch. Randall worked out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts of junior Rony Rodriguez and Martinez.
The Gators seized a 4-2 lead in the bottom part of the inning. Ramjit doubled down the left-field line to raise his hitting streak to six games and Dent popped up a bunt attempt for the first out. Fontana singled into left field, moving Ramjit to third, and a fielding error on the play by left fielder Rodriguez enabled Ramjit to score. A throwing error by DeVoss allowed Fontana to occupy second base and Smith followed with a single into left field to give UF runners on the corners. Tucker delivered his second double of the game to bring in Fontana. Whaley prevented further trouble by striking out Zunino and having Adams fly out.
Miami narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Fieger. Randall retired the first two Hurricanes before Carey doubled just inside of the third-base bag. Fieger collected his second hit of the afternoon with a knock into left field to plate Carey.
Freshman Adam Sargent took over for Whaley (5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R) prior to the Gators’ sixth and surrendered a leadoff single to Thompson. The right-hander had Pigott foul out to first base and then induced an inning-ending double play grounder by Ramjit.
Junior Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) replaced Randall (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 5 K, 2 BB) at the outset of the seventh and gave up a base-hit to DeVoss. Melendres sacrificed his teammate into scoring position with a bunt up the first-base line and Rodriguez tied the game with an RBI single into left field. A fielder’s choice by Martinez forced Rodriguez at second for the second out and junior Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) was summoned to the bullpen for Larson (0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and Fontana made a strong stop on a grounder by sophomore pinch hitter Chad Kreuter that forced Martinez to end the inning and keep the contest tied.
After junior reliever Sam Robinson retired the Gators in order to finish the seventh, Carey drew a one-out walk in the eighth. With Carey attempting to steal second base, Fieger was called for batter’s interference, resulting in the second out. Rowland stroked a single into right field to push Carey to third and Maronde countered with a strikeout of DeVoss to preserve the stalemate.
Robinson set down UF 1-2-3 in the eighth and Toledo came in for Maronde (1.1 IP, 1 H) to begin the ninth. Melendres led off with a double down the left-field line and Toledo had Rodriguez ground out to Fontana, keeping the runner at second base. After Toledo caught Martinez looking on strikes, he had sophomore pinch hitter Chantz Mack hit a comebacker to the mound. The righty fielded the ball and fired a strike to Ramjit to end the frame.
In the ninth, Robinson struck out Thompson and was replaced by Miller. Over 2.1 innings, Robinson totaled three strikeouts and put down all seven Gators he faced. Florida held an 11-10 advantage in hits and has now defeated Miami seven-straight times.
Vanderbilt Downs Troy, 10-2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt scratched across runs to take a lead midway through the contest and then added six in the final two innings, including home runs from Aaron Westlake and Curt Casali, en route to a 10-2 victory over Troy University Saturday on Day Two of the Nashville Regional at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (49-10) will now wait for the winner of Sunday's 2 p.m. contest pitting Troy (43-18) and Belmont University. The winner of that game will face VU at 7 p.m. and must defeat the Commodores twice to advance to next week's Super Regional.
Tony Kemp, Anthony Gomez and Conrad Gregor each collected two RBIs, with two-run singles from Kemp and Gregor and a pair of sacrifice flies by Gomez. Kemp's hit up the middle in the fourth inning gave Vanderbilt the lead for good and he later scored on Gomez's second sac fly.
Gregor's two-run single in the eighth pushed the lead to 6-2 before Westlake belted a three-run homer just to the right of the batter's eye and Casali followed with a solo shot deep to leftcenter.
Grayson Garvin set a single-season record for victories, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings to pick up his 13th win of the year. The lefthander allowed two runs in the fourth but worked out of a jam in the sixth, getting a strikeout and a doubleplay before his teammates added to the lead.
Will Clinard came in with two runners on in the seventh and the Commodores holding a 4-2 advantage, striking out Tyler Hannah to end the inning. The righthander posted his third save, walking one and retiring seven of the eight batters he faced.
Jason Esposito and Riley Reynolds paced the VU attack with two hits apiece, but Vanderbilt took advantage of six walks, two hit batters and one costly error by the Trojans.
Troy starter Jimmy Hodgkin (3-7) worked four-plus innings, allowing three runs on one hit. He walked three, hit two and threw first-pitch strikes to just six of the 17 batters he faced.
The Commodores took advantage of some wildness from Hodgkin to plate a run in the third and take an early lead.
Gregor drew a leadoff walk and Reynolds singled with one out before a walk to Kemp loaded the bases. Gomez's lineout to center plated Gregor with the game's first run.
Troy answered with two runs in the fourth after consecutive leadoff singles from Hannah and Adam Bryant. T.J. Rivera's sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, setting up Todd McRae's two-out, two-run single to left, a jam-shot in the six-hole, giving the Trojans a slim advantage.
Vanderbilt came back with three runs in the fifth, starting with Hodgkin hitting Gregor and walking Connor Harrell, chasing the lefthander from the game. Reynolds moved the runners with a bunt and Kemp's grounder up the middle bounced off the leg of Rivera and into short centerfield, plating both runs.
Rivera made a wild throw to the plate that nearly went into the dugout, allowing Kemp to reach third on the play. Gomez's second sac fly of the game gave the Commodores a 4-2 edge.
In the Trojan sixth Bryant reached on an error and Rivera singled, but Boone Shear struck out and McRae bounced into a tailor-made 4-6-3 doubleplay. In the seventh Daniel Peterson singled with two outs and Tyson Workman reached on an error by Esposito, but Clinard came on to strikeout Hannah and end the threat.
Vanderbilt expanded to the lead in the eighth when Mike Yastrzemski tripled down the rightfield line and Esposito was intentionally walked and stole second, setting up a lefty-lefty matchup against Gregor. The freshman singled through the rightside, plating both runners for a 6-2 VU advantage.
Reynolds and Gomez both walked in the ninth before Westlake belted a three-run shot, his 14th of the season. Casali followed with his sixth home run for the final runs of the contest.
MSU Makes Regional Final with Win Over Austin Peay
ATLANTA, Ga. – One win away.
Mississippi State moved within one victory of capturing the Atlanta Regional Saturday night as the Bulldogs used a seven-run fourth inning to dispatch Austin Peay 8-3 in a winners’ bracket matchup played at Georgia Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium.
Seeded third in their first NCAA baseball regional appearance since 2007, the Bulldogs (36-23) will face either top-seed Georgia Tech (41-20) or fourth-seed Austin Peay (34-23) again in Sunday’s 7 p.m. eastern championship game. Since MSU is the lone unbeaten, the Bulldogs would have to lose twice to not advance to Super Regional competition. If MSU drops the Sunday night contest, the second title game would be at 7 p.m. eastern Monday.
Playing less than 30 miles from his hometown, true freshman Evan Mitchell had his brightest moment for the Bulldogs Saturday night. Mitchell carried a five-hit shutout into the ninth inning. Trying to get Mitchell the squad’s first complete game of 2011, he was allowed to start the ninth inning. A hit batsman and pair of walks ended Mitchell’s night on the mound.
In relief, Daryl Norris closed the contest but not before the Governors scored a pair of runs on an infield error and another run on an RBI-single by Jon Clinard. MSU had entered the final frame with 17 innings of shutout pitching and errorless defense in regional tournament play.
“We are really proud of the effort of Evan Mitchell,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “His last three outings have been outstanding. That’s why we put the ball in his hands. He did a really good job of attacking the strike zone.”
In his season-best eight-plus innings of work, Mitchell allowed five hits and three runs (all earned), with eight strikeouts and five walks. His pitch count finished at 128. As Mitchell took the mound in the ninth inning, a heavily-dominated Maroon and White crowd roared its unanimous approval.
“It was definitely nice to pitch in front of my friends and family,” said Mitchell, who starred at Wheeler High School in nearby Marietta. “I didn’t want to think too much about it and get all caught up in that. I wanted to treat it like another day, another outing.”
However, it was anything but. Prior to this season, the Bulldogs had four postseason shutouts in school history. Saturday night, the Bulldogs came within three outs of accomplishing the feat on back-to-back nights. Only the 1989 Bulldogs threw two shutouts in the same postseason, alas those did not come on back-to-back nights.
“He has given us a lift here late in the season,” Cohen said. “I really proud of the competitive nature of Evan. The main thing is that he throws strikes and fills the strike zone. He competes against every hitter. We have all seen him grown up a lot this season.”
The Bulldogs defeated Southern Mississippi 3-0 in their tournament opener Friday. In that victory, MSU only scored in two different innings. The formula held again Saturday. MSU scored once in the first inning and seven times in the fourth inning.
MSU is now 26-1 this season with scoring six or more runs in a game.
In the first inning, C.T. Bradford began things with a leadoff single. After a lineout, Jarrod Parks reached as a hit batsman. Nick Vickerson followed with an RBI-double. For Vickerson, it was his sixth extra-base hits in his last five games.
Ryan Collins began the fourth inning with an infield bunt single. After a sacrifice bunt by Wes Thigpen, C.T. Bradford followed with an RBI-triple. A line drive sacrifice fly by Cody Freeman plated Bradford, running the lead to 3-0.
“C.T. is not a freshman anymore,” Cohen said. “He is a sophomore. That was a huge swing of the bat today that changed the nature of the game.”
The Governors replaced starting pitcher Jeremy Dobbs (9-3) with Chuck Edlin. However, the Bulldogs kept swinging away.
Parks and Vickerson received back-to-back walks from the new hurler. Jaron Shepherd followed with an RBI-single. That hit scored Parks on a bang-bang play at the plate which led to the ejection of Austin Peay coach Gary McClure for arguing.
In relief, Austin Peay turned to Mike Hebert. Brent Brownlee reached as a hit batsman, loading the bases. The Bulldogs then tacked on an RBI-single by Jonathan Ogden – batting for the third time with the bases loaded in the game; a two-run single by Collins and RBI-double by Thigpen.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 total hits, as six of them came in that at-bat. The Maroon and White also stranded 10 base runners. Bradford, Collins and Thigpen each had multiple hits.
Michael Blanchard finished with two of Austin Peay’s six hits.
Sunday’s opener is the elimination game between Georgia Tech and Austin Peay. Game time there is 3 p.m. eastern. All games in the Atlanta regional are being televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast and video streamed on NCAA.com (blacked out in CSS markets).
Alabama Baseball Falls To Seminoles 9-5 in Tallahassee Regional
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the winner’s bracket game of the Tallahassee Regional, the Alabama baseball team suffered a 9-5 loss to the top seeded and No. 6 ranked Florida State Seminoles on Saturday night from Dick Howser Stadium. The loss drops the Crimson Tide to 34-27 on the season while FSU improves to 44-17 overall.
Alabama returns to regional play on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT against the No. 2 seeded Central Florida Knights, who defeated Bethune-Cookman 16-5 in the Saturday elimination game earlier in the day. Alabama defeated UCF 5-3 in the opening game of the regional on Friday.
Alabama roughed up Florida State starter Sean Gilmartin for 12 hits and five earned runs, the most allowed by the First Team All-American this season. Gilmartin (12-1) got the win, throwing 7.0 innings with two walks and six strikeouts. Eight of the nine players in the UA starting lineup had at least one hit as Brock Bennett, Jared Reaves, Josh Rosecrans and Brett Booth has two hits each. Rosecrans was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk.
Florida State answered with nine runs on 13 hits as James Ramsey led the way with a 4-for-5 night, including four RBI and a run scored. Devon Travis was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Rafael Lopez was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Alabama starting pitcher Adam Morgan (5-7) took the loss, throwing 5.2 innings, allowing eight runs on 11 hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Gamecock Bats Come Alive in 11-5 Win over Stetson
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina exploded for 10 runs in the third and fourth innings and advanced to the NCAA Columbia Regional championship game with an 11-5 win over Stetson on Saturday night at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks improve to 47-14 on the season and will face the winner of tomorrow's NC State-Stetson game for the regional title. Stetson fell to 42-19 and will face the Wolfpack in an elimination game at 1 p.m. South Carolina has now won 16 consecutive postseason games at home, dating back to the 2002 Super Regional vs. Miami (Fla.). Carolina is 5-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament at Carolina Stadium.
Colby Holmes (7-3) got the win with 6.2 strong innings of work, giving up four runs on seven hits while walking just one and striking out three. It was the sixth time this season Holmes went six innings or longer; in all six such outings, he earned a victory.
Four Gamecocks registered multi-hit outings with Robert Beary leading the way. He went 2-for-3 with a grand slam - Carolina's second of the season - to tie a career high with four RBIs. Evan Marzilli, Scott Wingo and Christian Walker all had two hits in the game - Wingo was also hit by a pitch twice to increase his school-record career total to 59 - and Jake Williams and Peter Mooney both drove in a pair of runs.
For Stetson, it was Mitchel Brennan taking top honors with a 2-for-4 day that included a three-run home run, his second of the Columbia Regional. Jeff Simpson, Robert Crews and Sean Emory all had two hits as well.
The Hatters got on the board first when, with two outs in the second, first baseman Trey Blackman hit his first home run of the season to give Stetson a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks then exploded in the third and fourth innings. After Marzilli led off with a double and Wingo moved him to third with a base hit, Walker was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. Marzilli would score to tie the game at 1-1 when Brady Thomas hit into a double play, putting a runner at third with two outs. However, three consecutive walks to Morales, Williams and Mooney brought home Wingo to give the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead. Beary then came through with his first career grand slam to blow the game wide open, giving the Gamecocks a 6-1 lead and delighting the Carolina Stadium crowd of 7,335.
An inning later, it was more of the same as Marzilli and Wingo led off with back-to-back singles, then Walker singled up the middle to bring home Marzilli and make it 7-1. After a walk to Thomas and a fielder's choice by Morales erased Wingo at home, Williams ripped a 2-RBI double to left center to bring home Walker and Thomas and increase the lead to 9-1. A sacrifice fly by Mooney one batter later brought home Morales, moving the Gamecocks into double digits at 10-1.
Steven Neff then delivered his fifth home run of the season on the first pitch of the fifth inning, roping yet another one into the right-field bullpen, to increase Carolina's lead to 11-1.
Stetson would not go quietly, however. With two outs in the seventh, Mitchel Brennan roped his second home run of the Columbia Regional to bring home three Hatter runs and cut the Carolina lead to 11-4.
The Hatters would threaten again in the eighth and come away empty, but they managed to scratch out one more run in the ninth. Blackman was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a walk to Emory, and then scored as Brennan singled to cut the Stetson deficit to 11-5. However, John Taylor would force a groundout and strike out the final two batters he faced to end the ballgame and send the Gamecocks to the regional championship game for the 11th straight year.
First pitch for Sunday's championship is set for 7 p.m. as the Gamecocks will face the winner of an elimination game between NC State and Stetson. The home team for the 7 p.m. game has not yet been determined. Complete coverage of the 2011 NCAA Columbia Regional, including live stats and live video from every game, is available only through GamecocksOnline.com.