LB Dantzler tallied a career-high four hits with a three-run homer and a career-high five RBI and junior outfielder Graham Saiko reached base all five times with two run scored as fifth ranked South Carolina defeated Albany 8-3 on Saturday afternoon in the first of a three-game baseball series. The Gamecocks are now 3-1 on the year while the loss drops the Great Danes to 0-3 for the year. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at Noon. Both games will be nine innings and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College with live video broadcast available at GamecocksOnline.com.
Jordan Montgomery earned the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. He worked five innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out five batters and walked three. Freshman right-hander Curt Britt followed and was solid in four innings in his first stint on the mound to pick up a save. He allowed just one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Albany starter Kasceim Graham suffered the loss and is now 0-1. He allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings of work with two walks as well.
The Gamecocks went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Saiko drew a leadoff walk on four pitches. With two outs and Saiko on second base, Dantzler delivered with a RBI single to left field.
Carolina added three runs in the second inning. TJ Costen led off with a base hit, Chase Vergason walked and Tanner English had a bunt for a base hit to load the bases with no outs. Saiko got on base for the second time in the day with a RBI single to left scoring Costen. Joey Pankake added a one-out RBI single to right field scoring Vergason. Dantzler then drove in his second run of the game as he knocked a hard hit up the middle that struck Albany shortstop Gordon Madej in the chest. English would score on the play.
The Gamecocks would plate across one more run in the third inning to increase the lead to 5-0 despite not tallying a hit. Vergason and English were each hit by a pitch with one out and reliever Cameron Sorgie walked Saiko to load the bases. Vergason would score on Max Schrock's sacrifice fly to center field.
Albany would get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with a solo home run by Josh Nethaway, his first of the season. The home run snapped a scoreless inning streak of 17.2 for Montgomery that dated back to last year's NCAA Regional. They added a run in the fifth inning as well with Gordon Madej driving in a run on a bloop RBI single to left-center.
Dantzler gave the Gamecocks a little more cushion in the bottom of the sixth inning with a three-run homer. Saiko led off with a single to reach base for the fourth time in the game. Max Schrock also walked. With runners on the corners, Dantzler crushed a three-run homer to right-center extending the lead to 8-2.
Albany added a single run in the ninth inning as pinch hitter Evan Harasta tallied a RBI single with two outs off of Britt.
The Gamecocks pounded out 11 hits on the afternoon. Saiko was 2-for-2 with two run scored and Chase Vergason added two runs as well. Dantzler's five RBI were the most for him in a game since he tallied four vs. VMI on Feb. 18, 2012. Adam Mund went 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead the Great Danes at the plate.
Before Saturday's game, the Gamecocks honored members of the 1977 National Runner-Up squad. June Raines' first club was recognized for their achievements and presented College World Series rings. Former players and coaches that returned were: William Allen, Jamie Chakales, Ronnie Crapps, John Hinkel, Hal Hutchens, Mark Kish, Randy Martz, Chuck McLean, Richard Ness, Robbie Parrish, Don Repsher, David Small, Michael Toalson and Mookie Wilson. Steve King's daughter also accepted her father's rings. Athletic trainer Daryl Driggers, assistant coach Johnny Hunton and June Raines attended as well.