Baseball is back and the Gamecocks are starting off the season in the win column after taking advantage of some miscues by UNCG and wrapping up a 7-1 win on Friday in Columbia.
South Carolina took an early lead, getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning. TJ Hopkins started things off with a double, then came home on a one-out RBI single by Alex Destino. A wild pitch, one of three in the inning, brought Destino in to make it 2-0 in favor of the home team.
The Gamecocks had a chance to add to their lead in the third inning when they got the bases loaded with two outs, but couldn’t capitalize.
Both teams did some scoring in the fourth inning, as UNCG cut the lead in half on a home run from Dillon Stewart. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that would end up being their only run of the game. After the third inning letdown, South Carolina’s offense came alive in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Williams led off with a walk, Jacob Olson tallied a single, and Danny Blair knocked an RBI single to make it 3-1. Hopkins followed with a two-run double to give the Gamecocks some breathing room, and Destino recorded an RBI double of his own to make it 6-1 South Carolina..
The final run of the game came in the next inning, when Olson scored on a wild pitch.
Starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt wasn’t at his sharpest, but he still had a solid outing overall, especially given that it was the first game of the season. He earned the win, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing three hits, one run, walked two batters, and struck out three. Colie Bowers went the rest of the way for the Gamecocks, recording four Ks in 2 1⁄3 innings of work.
While South Carolina did benefit from several UNCG wild pitches, it was good to see the offense be productive. Hopkins in particular had a nice first game, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, and hopefully that will be something he can build on. Defensively, the Gamecocks also did a nice job, with a couple of double plays and some strong individual performances as well, including a good job at shortstop by Madison Stokes.
South Carolina starts the season 1-0, while UNCG is 0-1. They’ll meet again tomorrow at Founders Park, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Wil Crowe will start on the mound for the Gamecocks in his first appearance since 2015.