Bucknell Baseball Falls Short in Upset Bid of South Carolina at NCAA Regionals, 9-5
June 5, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two years ago the Bucknell baseball team pulled off an improbable upset of Florida State in its first-round NCAA Regional contest. On Friday night in front of nearly 7,000 fans at Carolina Stadium it appeared as though the fourth-seeded Bison might repeat the feat against top-seeded South Carolina. However, the Gamecocks overcame a 5-1 deficit and scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Bucknell 9-5.
Bucknell (25-34) will now play in an elimination game against Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Hokies lost to The Citadel, 7-2, on Friday afternoon.
The Bison took a 1-0 lead on a home run by Ben Yoder in the top of the fourth and did not trail until a Jackie Bradley Jr. two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth staked South Carolina (44-15) to a 6-5 lead.
Yoder's home run, his 11th of the season, came minutes before a rain and lightning storm caused a 67-minute delay. Bucknell led 1-0 at the time of the delay with Andrew Brouse on first base and Doug Shribman at the plate. When play resumed Brouse made his way around the bases without the aid of a hit as he stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and proceeded to score on an errant throw after a wild pitch by starter Sam Dyson, who like Bison starter Dylan Seeley returned to the mound following the delay.
An RBI double by Whit Merrifield in the bottom of the inning cut Bucknell's lead in half.
The Bison knocked Dyson from the game in the sixth as Yoder drew a leadoff walk and Brouse, who was 2-for-3 in the game, singled to left. Shribman, who drove in 16 runs in the recent Patriot League Tournament, lined a hard double off the left field wall to plate Yoder. Drew Constable drove in Brouse with a single, while Shribman scored on a throwing error by third baseman Merrifield after a solid defensive scoop.
Dylan Seeley, who went 5.2 innings and allowed nine hits, three runs, walked two and struck out two, took the mound in the bottom of the sixth with Bucknell leading 5-1. The Gamecocks began to chip away at their deficit as Evan Marzilli hit a home run to right-center to make it 5-3. A bunt single by Merrifield then knocked Seeley from the game.
South Carolina, which has qualified for 11 consecutive NCAA Regionals, scored another run in the seventh on a sac fly.
Bucknell continued to lead 5-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Bradley, who had been 0-for-2, extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run shot to left off reliever Steve Carlin (3-6). Five batters later Adrian Morales hit a three-run home run to provide the final score.
Bucknell, which had six hits in the contest, did not record a hit over the final three innings of play, and had just one baserunner over that span. South Carolina posted eight of its 14 hits in its final three at-bats, and also drew four walks during that time.
Michael Roth (1-1) earned the win for South Carolina with 3.1 innings of no-hit relief. Five of the 10 outs he recorded were strikeouts.
Seeley kept the game scoreless in the early goings as he halted a serious South Carolina rally in the third. After the tall right-hander hit a pair of batters, he coaxed a short fly out from No. 3 hitter Bradley and a pop up to short left on which shortstop Ben Allen made an impressive over-the-shoulder grab of. A walk loaded the bases, but Seeley got catcher Brady Thomas to ground out to second, ending the rally with the score still knotted at 0-0.
Bucknell did capitalize on three South Carolina errors as it plated a pair of unearned runs. Both teams entered the game with fielding percentages well above .970. The Bison did not make an error in the contest.
The middle of the Bison lineup was strong as the three through seven hitters collected all six hits.
South Carolina came up big with two outs. Its first four runs, and seven of its nine, were plated after two outs had been recorded.
Morales was one of four Gamecocks with multi-hit contests as he was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Marzilli, Merrifield and Adam Matthews posted two hits apiece.
Bucknell will square off against Virginia Tech on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bison were swept in a three-game series against the Hokies in 2009, the only previous time the squads have faced each other. Virginia Tech is the No. 2 seed in the regional.