In their final game before conference play begins, the Gamecocks kept their perfect season alive by blanking the visiting Paladins 5-0. It's the fourth-straight shutout victory for USC, and the team has now recorded a shutout in nine of 16 games this season, an amazing feat.
South Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, as Elliott Caldwell knocked a two-out RBI single to bring Connor Bright home. The Gamecocks padded their lead in the next inning, thanks to an RBI base hit from birthday boy Tanner English and one from Bright, putting the home team up 3-0.
Both teams were quiet offensively through the middle innings, but South Carolina tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth. After Grayson Greiner doubled with two outs, Caldwell contributed his second RBI of the night.
Furman threatened in the sixth inning, but reliever Josh Reagan got two strikeouts and a groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Kyle Martin left the yard in the seventh for his third home run of the year, which gave the Gamecocks a 5-0 lead. Furman looked to rally in the eighth inning, but their attempt was thwarted and the score stood for the remainder of the game.
Taylor Widener, making his first start for the Gamecocks, worked 3.1 innings and allowed one hit, no runs, walked two batters, and hit one. He earned the win, his first of the season. Reagan tossed 2.2 innings and surrendered just two hits, no runs, plunked a batter, and tallied two Ks. Trey McNickle, Reed Scott, Hunter Privette, and Cody Mincey also pitched for Carolina tonight. USC's pitching staff has thrown 42 consecutive scoreless innings, an incredibly impressive accomplishment.
Paladins starter Billy Greenfield lasted 3.2 innings and gave up four hits, three runs, walked three batters, struck out two, and hit one. He took the loss and drops to 1-1. Tyler Wood and Harry Norman also took the mound for Furman.
Caldwell led the Gamecocks at the plate with three hits (a season high) and two RBI, while Mooney extended his hitting streak to ten games. Jordan Simpson had two hits to lead the Paladins.
Prior to tonight's game, the baseball team honored South Carolina student Martha Childress, who was the victim of a shooting in Five Points this fall. She threw out the first pitch, was given a personalized jersey, and took a picture with the team.
The Gamecocks, now 16-0, are still the only Division I baseball team yet to lose this season, while Furman drops to 6-10. Carolina will be back in action this weekend as they host Ole Miss to begin SEC play. Friday's game is set to begin at 7 p.m.