No. 23 South Carolina started off the 2023 baseball season in style, beating UMass Lowell in a 20-3 blowout on Friday.
The River Hawks got on the board first, going up 1-0 in the top of the second on a single by Trey Brown. That lead was shortlived though, and it was pretty much all Gamecocks for the rest of the game. They tied things up in the bottom of the second, when Talmadge LeCroy started things off with a triple and scored on a Gavin Casas flyout. Will McGillis followed that with a solo shot to make it 2-1 in favor of the home team.
UML tied the game back up in the next inning thanks to a Gerry Siracusa double, but USC answered again in the bottom of the inning. Carson Hornung walked to lead off, Braylen Wimmer singled, and then Caleb Denny grounded out to make the score 2-2. The Cocks regained the lead when Cole Messina went yard to put them up 5-2, and then things really got going.
In the fourth inning, Dylan Brewer got hit by a pitch with one out, Evan Stone walked, and Hornung and Wimmer hit back-to-back homers to make it 9-2. Denny thing knocked a base hit and later scored on a groundout by Messina to put Carolina in double digits. They tacked on another run in the fifth courtesy of another McGillis dinger, making the score 11-2.
The Gamecocks broke it even more wide open in the sixth, scoring a total of seven runs. Wimmer and Denny started things off with back-to-back singles, then Messina got hit by a pitch to load the bases and LeCroy and McGillis got plunked too, forcing in a pair of runs and making it a 13-2 game. LeCroy came home on a fielder’s choice by Brewer, bumping the score to 14-2, Hornung and Wimmer each knocked base hits to bring in three more runs and make it 17-2, and a passed ball got in another to put South Carolina up 18-2.
The River Hawks scored their only other run of the game in the seventh, making it 17-3 thanks to a flyout from Brown. The Cocks’ final runs came in the eighth, after Chris Veach singled and Michael Braswell and Denny both flew out.
USC starter Will Sanders worked four innings and allowed three hits and two runs. He walked one batter and struck out three. James Hicks, Wesley Sweatt, and Austin Williamson went the rest of the way for the Gamecocks, and Hicks got the win, making him 1-0. UML starter LJ Keevan pitched 3.1 innings and allowed eight hits and 10 runs. He walked two batters, struck two out, and took the loss, making him 0-1.
Wimmer led Carolina at the plate with five hits, while Hornung tallied four RBI. Four different players tallied a hit for the River Hawks, and Brown recorded two RBI.
The Cocks are now 1-0 on the season, while UML is 0-1. They’ll meet again on Saturday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. at Founder’s Park. Noah Hall is slated to start on the mound for the home team.