Shelby, N.C. --- It was not a happy homecoming for USC head baseball coach Chad Holbrook who watched 10th-ranked South Carolina lose to Gardner-Webb 7-6.
Holbrook is a native of Shelby and the game was played at the neutral site of Keeter Stadium.
USC took a 6-4 lead into the top of the eighth inning but Gardner-Webb rallied with two runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth with the tying and winning runs both scoring on Gamecock errors.
Gardner-Webb improves to 21-19-1 with South Carolina now 31-11 on the year.
Gardner-Webb's rally in the eighth inning began with a walk to Danny Yelverton in the eighth. After a wild pitch by Vince Fiori moved him up to second base, the Gamecocks went to the pen for right-hander Joel Seddon. Singles by Scott Johnson and Ryan Hodge cut the South Carolina lead down to 6-5.
Seddon would retire the next two batters with a popup and groundout. With runners on second and third, the Gamecocks intentionally walked Benji Jackson loading the bases for Scott Coleman. On a 2-1 pitch Coleman hit a grounder to third that was misfielded by Chase Vergason allowing pinch runner Alex Newman to score and tie the game. Seddon got out of the inning with a strikeout of Brad Collins.
The Bulldogs completed the rally in the ninth inning. John Harris led off with a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, Tyler Best knocked a pitch from Evan Beal over to Joey Pankake at shortstop. Pankake looked to get pinch runner Taylor Fisher at third base. His throw went wide and past Vergason though and allowed Fisher to score giving Gardner-Webb the 7-6 lead.
South Carolina went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
Gardner-Webb reliever Mitch Warner earned the win and is 3-0 on the year. He allowed just one run on four hits in 4.1 innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
Joel Seddon suffered the loss and is 1-1 for the season. He allowed two runs, both unearned, on three hits in 1.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
Gardner-Webb had 15 hits with South Carolina finishing with 13 for the game. LB Dantzler was 3-for-5 with two runs to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Grayson Greiner, Connor Bright and TJ Costen all had two hits apiece as well. Brad Collins and Ryan Hodge both tallied three hits to lead GWU.
South Carolina committed four errors in the contest leading to four unearned runs for Gardner-Webb. A pair of GWU errors also led to two unearned runs for the Gamecocks.