The Gamecocks stayed hot offensively in Sunday’s rubber game against VMI, blanking the Keydets and wrapping up their first series win of the season.
South Carolina got on the board early, taking two-run lead in the first inning. Noah Campbell led off with a walk, TJ Hopkins singled, and a passed ball brought Campbell home for the first run. Madison Stokes then came through with an RBI double that made it 2-0.
The Gamecocks added a pair of runs in the next inning, again with a little help from the Keydets. LT Tolbert worked a leadoff walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch, then Jordan Holladay doubled with one out and made it home on another wild pitch, putting South Carolina up 4-0.
After loading the bases but failing to capitalize in the third inning, the Gamecocks doubled their run total in the fourth. Campbell walked to start the inning, Hopkins knocked a base hit, and Carlos Cortes walked to fill the bases. Stokes followed with an RBI fielder’s choice, Jonah Bride walked, and Chris Cullen came through with a three-run homer that made the score 8-0 in favor of the home team. The only downside of the inning was that Bride injured himself and had to leave the game. Speculatively, it looked like the injury might be his hamstring, so hopefully its nothing serious.
South Carolina’s final run of the game came in the sixth inning, thanks to a leadoff home run from Justin Row, who replaced Stokes in the game.
Gamecocks starter Ridge Chapman, making his first appearance for USC, had a really good outing. He worked five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, walked four batters and struck out six. Chapman also got the win, making him 1-0 on the season. Gage Hinson, TJ Shook and Hunter Lomas combined to go the rest of the way and all three looked solid as well, keeping the Keydets off the scoreboard and largely off the bases.
With the win, South Carolina improves to 2-1, while VMI drops to 1-2. The Gamecocks will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host North Florida. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Founder’s Park.