No. 20 South Carolina started off Saturday’s doubleheader on a high note, beating Bethune-Cookman 8-5 to lock up another series victory.
After a scoreless first inning on both sides, the Gamecocks took a 2-0 lead in the second. Cole Messina singled to start things off, stole second, and scored on a one-out double by Talmadge LeCroy to make it 1-0, then LeCroy came home on a base hit by Carson Hornung. The Wildcats answered in the next inning, ending the shutout when Hylan Hall singled to bring in a run and make the score 2-1. USC responded in the bottom of the inning, doubling their run total. Gavin Casas and Messina both walked with two outs, advanced on a wild pitch, and came home on a single from Ethan Petry, pushing the lead to 4-1.
Bethune-Cookman pulled closer in the fifth, making it a 4-3 game courtesy of a two-run base hit by Boris Peña. The Cocks again answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs. Braylen Wimmer reached on an error to lead off, Casas walked, and with one out, both scored on a pair of errors to make the score 6-3. Hornung later knocked a base hit that brought in Petry, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, making it 7-3.
The Wildcats tacked on another run in the sixth when Garrett Chun grounded out to get a runner home, making it a 7-4 game. Carolina’s final run came in the eighth when Wimmer hit a leadoff solo shot to push the lead to 8-4, and Bethune-Cookman’s final run was scored in the ninth on a groundout by Jorge Braceras.
Gamecocks starter Noah Hall pitched five innings and allowed five hits and three runs. He walked five batters and struck five out and he earned the win, making him 3-0. James Hicks went the rest of the way for South Carolina and got the save, his first of the season. Wildcats starter Nolan Santos worked 4.1 innings and gave up four hits and seven runs. He walked five batters, struck four out, and took the loss, making him 2-1.
Hornung led the Cocks at the plate with two hits, while Petry tallied three RBI. Luis Tuero had three hits to pace Bethune-Cookman, and Peña recorded two RBI.
USC improves to 15-1 on the season, while the Wildcats are now 8-7. The teams will meet again for the second game of the doubleheader around 4:30 p.m., with Jack Mahoney set to start on the mound for the home team.