Gamecocks southpaw Roth is boss of the Bulldogs, 3-0

Senior left-handed pitcher Michael Roth hurled seven-plus scoreless innings and combined with relievers Tyler Webb and Matt Price for a five-hit shutout and third ranked South Carolina scored single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings on the way to a 3-0 victory over Georgia on Friday night at Foley Field.

The Gamecocks are now 38-12 and 17-8 in the SEC while the loss drops Georgia to 28-22 and 12-13 in league play.

The pitcher’s duel between Roth and Georgia sophomore left-hander Alex Wood was as good as advertised as both southpaws kept putting zeros on the scoreboard as neither team could muster much offense through the first six innings. That however changed in the seventh with a two-out solo home run by LB Dantzler that gave the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Evan Marzilli added a RBI base hit in the eighth inning and Sean Sullivan drove in the third run with a sacrifice squeeze in the ninth to complete the scoring.

Roth limited Georgia to just three hits and five walks while striking out six batters to earn the win and improve to 5-0 on the year. Price’s scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts earned him his eighth save of the season, his seventh in league play. Wood went the distance for Georgia and allowed three runs on nine hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He is now 6-2 on the year.

Both teams threatened in the sixth inning but would come away with nothing as Roth and Wood battled to keep the game scoreless. The Gamecocks put a pair of runners on base with singles by Joey Pankake and Marzilli. Christian Walker punched would look to be the third hit of the inning up the middle but Wood, a 6-4 left-hander, snared a hard hit ball up the middle with his glove and turned a 1-6-3 double play to end the Carolina threat. Georgia would try to ride that momentum in the bottom half as Hunter Cole and Brett DeLoach each drew one-out walks and Levi Hyams knocked a bloop single just over the head of Chase Vergason to load the bases for the Bulldogs. Roth dug deep though, striking out both Peter Verdin and Heath Holder to end the Bulldogs’ scoring opportunity.

Dantzler broke the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs and down 0-2 in the count, Dantzler launched a homer deep to right field that went off the top of the scoreboard at Foley Field to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Dantzler’s home run was his ninth of the season, tying him with Christian Walker for the team lead.

The Gamecocks increased the lead to 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning. Vergason reached base with a one-out single to right field. After a sacrifice by Pankake moved him into scoring position, Marzilli knocked a RBI single through the left side into right giving the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.

Carolina extended the advantage to 3-0 in the top of the ninth inning. Grayson Greiner belted a triple into the gap in right-center and scored on a perfectly executed sacrifice squeeze bunt by pinch hitter Sean Sullivan. Down to a 1-2 count, Sullivan was able to lay down a bunt down the first base line that scored Greiner. The triple for Greiner was his first triple of the season.

Carolina had nine hits for the evening. Marzilli and Dantzler were both 2-for-4 to pace the Gamecock offense. Pankake has now reached base in 10 straight games. Levi Hyams went 2-for-4 to lead Georgia at the plate.

Friday’s game was the second straight shutout of the week for the Gamecocks. South Carolina now has six shutouts for the season.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

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