Last week, the Gamecocks dropped both of their midweek contests. This week, they won both of them. I liked this week's outcome better.
Upstate jumped out to an early lead tonight., going up 1-0 in the first inning following a bunch of walks and two USC errors. They could have done more damage, but left two runners stranded. The Spartans then had a bases loaded situation in the next inning, but couldn't capitalize. That first inning run would end up being their only one of the night.
Fortunately, the Gamecocks offense finally woke up in the fifth inning. Tanner English coaxed a one-out walk, then stole second because he's fast. Marcus Mooney follwed with a walk of his own, and advacned to second as English got caught trying to steal third. Gene Cone singled to tie the game, then Joey Pankake and Kyle Martin knocked base hits too, packing the bases with Carolina players. Grayson Greiner walked to make it 2-1 in favor of the home team, then Martin and Pankake scored on a dropped ball in the outfield, bumping the score up to 4-1.
The Gamecocks tacked on their final two runs in the seventh inning. Cone and Pankake singled with one out, then Martin came through with an RBI double. Pankake later crossed home thanks to an error. South Carolina could have padded their lead even more, but left two runners stranded in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Gamecocks starter Matthew Vogel worked 1.2 innings and allowed one hit, one run, walked four batters, and struck one out. Curt Britt, Hunter Privette, and Evan Beal went the rest of thw way for USC, and Britt picked up the win, which makes him 2-0 on the season.
USC Upstate starter Eric Birklund pitched 4.2 innings and gave up four hits, two runs, issued three walks and tallied one K. He took the loss and falls to 0-7 (ouch).
Martin extended his hitting streak to 11 games and had four hits tonight to lead the Gamecocks. Cone and Pankake each had three. Mooney was the only other USC player to record a hit. Erik Samples paced the Spartans with two hits.
There was some more potential injury news from this game (this is getting ridiculous): Greiner had to leave the game after he jammed his neck sliding into third base. He passed all concussion tests, though, and Chad Holbrook said he thinks Grayson should be okay to play on Friday.
South Carolina improves to 32-10, while USC Upstate drops to 14-30. The Gamecocks will be back in action on Friday when they start their series against Alabama. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium