I have long supported the “never bunt, hit dingers” approach to baseball and it appears the Gamecocks are too, as they went yard a whole bunch against Winthrop on Tuesday en route to their fourth straight win.
South Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Josiah Sightler reached on an error, advanced on a passed ball, and came home on an RBI double by Jeff Heinrich. Two more USC runs came in the next inning, courtesy of long balls from Wes Clarke and Andrew Eyster, making the score 3-0.
Things got a little sticky after that, as the Eagles scored two runs in the fourth inning courtesy of a Dillon Morton RBI single and a passed ball and tied the game in the next inning on an error. The Gamecocks regained the lead for good in bottom of the fifth, though. Braylen Wimmer started things off with a double and Clarke walked, then Wimmer came home on an error to make it 4-3. Josiah Sightler knocked a one-out RBI single to put the home team up 5-3, then Heinrich tallied an RBI single of his own with two outs to make the score 6-3. In the sixth, Clarke homered again with two outs to make it 7-3, then David Mendham scored on an Eyster RBI double to bump the score up to 8-3.
Winthrop’s final run of the game came in the next inning on another RBI single from Morton that made it an 8-4 game. Carolina blew things open even more after that, adding four insurance runs in the eighth inning as Wimmer, Clarke, and Mendham hit back-to-back-to-back bombs, and Sightler added a one-out solo shot.
Gamecocks starter Will Sanders worked 2.2 innings and allowed just two hits and no runs or walks, while also striking out six batters. Magdiel Cotto, Jack Mahoney, John Gilreath, Jackson Phipps, Andrew Peters, Daniel Lloyd, and Sightler also took the mound for USC in this game, and Gilreath got the win, making him 1-0. Eagles reliever Garrett Gainey took the loss and is 0-1. Clarke had 3 RBI and was the star of the game among a lot of players who had success at the plate; he and Sightler led the team in this game with three hits each.
With the win, South Carolina is now 4-0 on the season. The Gamecocks will be back in action on Friday to open the rivalry series against Clemson. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. in the Upstate.