USC loses late lead, falls to Gardner-Webb

SHELBY, N.C. (WACH) - South Carolina took a 6-4 lead into the top of the eighth inning but Gardner-Webb rallied to beat the No. 15 Gamecocks 7-6 on Tuesday evening at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.

Gardner-Webb improves to 21-19-1 with the win while South Carolina drops to 31-11 on the year.

Gardner-Webb's rally in the eighth inning began with a walk to Danny Yelverton. After a wild pitch by Vince Fiori moved him to second base, the Gamecocks put in relief pitcher Joel Seddon. Singles by Scott Johnson and Ryan Hodge cut the South Carolina lead to 6-5. Seddon retired the next two batters.

With runners on second and third, the Gamecocks intentionally walked Benji Jackson loading the bases for Scott Coleman. Coleman hit a ground ball to third that was misplayed by Chase Vergason allowing pinch runner Alex Newman to score and tie the game. Seddon got out of the inning by striking out Brad Collins.

The Bulldogs completed the rally in the ninth inning. John Harris led off with a base hit, and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Best hit a pitch from Evan Beal to shortstop Joey Pankake. Pankake looked to get pinch runner Taylor Fisher at third base, but his throw went past Vergason, allowing Fisher to score the go-ahead run.

Gardner-Webb reliever Mitch Warner earned the win and is 3-0 on the season. Joel Seddon suffered the loss and is 1-1 for the season.

South Carolina committed four errors in the game leading to four unearned runs for Gardner-Webb.

The Gamecocks are back to SEC action this weekend when they travel to LSU for a three-game series. First pitch for Friday's opener is set for 8 pm ET at Alex Box Stadium.