Jaspers Fall to South Carolina In NCAA Tournament Opener
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Jaspers' starting pitcher Taylor Sewitt carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before South Carolina (41-17) put up four runs propelling the two-time defending national champions to a 7-0 victory over Manhattan (33-26) on the first day of the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Columbia Regional top-seeded Gamecocks rallied behind junior starter Colby Holmes who outlasted Sewitt in a pitchers' duel. He tossed a one-hitter through eight innings until a 1:24 rain delay prevented him from teasing with a complete game.
Manhattan now looks to keep its season alive on Saturday when the Jaspers square off with the regional's third-seed Coastal Carolina (41-18) in an elimination contest. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. at Carolina Stadium in Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina broke up Sewitt's no hitter in the sixth inning, while also ending the senior right-hander's scoreless inning streak at 39.1 innings. Gamecocks' freshman shortstop Joey Pankake posted the first hit of the game to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior outfielder Evan Marzilli followed with a base hit before Sewitt walked junior power hitter Christian Walker to load the bases with no outs.
Sewitt nearly got out of the jam with his crafty pitching. He forced junior third baseman LB Dantzler to foul out behind the plate and then struck out pinch hitting senior Michael Roth marking his third of the game. South Carolina right fielder Adam Matthews delivered the clutch hit on a 3-1 count with a two-run single to left field breaking the scoreless tie. Freshman left fielder Tanner English tagged on two more runs with a triple to right field opening a 4-0 lead.
Jaspers' senior Mike Giordano came out of the bullpen in his 64th career appearance in the seventh inning to get three straight outs, including a strikeout to Pankake keeping it a four run game. But the Manhattan offense just could not get anything going against Holmes.
Junior right fielder Joe Rock came through for the Jaspers' first hit in the top of the eighth inning to spoil Holmes no-hit bid. Holmes set a career-high with nine strikeouts. Rock's two-out hit snapped a streak of 18 straight batters that he retired in order.
South Carolina worked three more runs on the scoreboard off Manhattan's freshman lefty reliever Nick Girardi in the bottom of the eighth prior to play being halted for the second time on Saturday at the Columbia Regional. Walker sent the first pitch of the eighth inning just inside the left field foul pole for his team-leading 11th homer of the season. Matthews followed with a RBI single and junior second baseman Chase Vergason doubled in the Gamecocks' seventh run.
Patrick Sullivan relieved Holmes in the top of the ninth and retired the first two Jasper hitters he faced before Nick Camastro ripped a single to right-center. Matthews bobbled the ball in right, allowing Camastro to advance to second on the play. He moved to third on a wild pitch, but struck out Kyle Murphy to end the game and preserve the shutout. With the victory, South Carolina set up a meeting with second-seeded Clemson (34-26) tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Manhattan-Coastal Carolina winner will face the loser of that contest in another elimination game at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Sewitt was credited with only his second loss of the season and first since March 2 at Maryland. He increased his MAAC leading strikeout total to 86 as he moved to 11-2. Holmes improved to 7-1 on the year with the victory.