COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina baseball team’s offense exploded for a season-high 15 runs and six Gamecock pitchers held Winthrop in check in a 15-2 win over the Eagles Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 21) at Founders Park. South Carolina has now won four straight games.
Freshman Logan Chapman, making his first start on the mound in a Gamecock uniform, got out of trouble in the second as he stranded two base runners with a ground out and a pop out to short. South Carolina responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. Jonah Bride and Chris Cullen walked to open the frame. After a fly out, LT Tolbert singled to center. Everyone moved up 90 feet on an error by the Winthrop center fielder, giving the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Justin Row then followed with a single to right center, scoring Cullen for a 2-0 advantage.
South Carolina exploded for six runs in the third, highlighted by senior Hunter Taylor‘s first career grand slam. Tolbert drove in a pair of runs two batters earlier and the Gamecocks took an 8-0 lead heading to the fourth.
Winthrop put up a two-spot in the fourth, but the Gamecocks put up a run in the fifth on Row’s third hit of the day, a double over the head of the third baseman to give South Carolina a 9-2 lead. Cullen’s RBI single in the sixth scored Hopkins, giving the Gamecocks double digits in runs for the first time this season. Danny Blair drove in a run with an infield single and Taylor brought in his fifth run with a bases-loaded walk to push the lead to 12-2.
A sacrifice fly from Carlos Cortes gave South Carolina a 13-2 lead. Tolbert put the exclamation point on the win with a two-run home run to right.
The bottom three in the lineup (Tolbert, Row and Taylor) combined to go 7-for-11 with 11 RBI. Tolbert and Taylor both had career-highs in RBI, four and five, respectively. Hopkins added two hits for the Gamecocks.
Chapman picks up the win in a pre-determined pitch count start. He went three-plus innings, allowing three hits and an earned run with four strikeouts. Gage Hinson pitched three innings of solid relief, allowing just one hit. TJ Shook, Parker Coyne and Hunter Lomas each pitched one inning. Lomas had a pair of strikeouts while Shook and Coyne had one apiece.
“One of the toughest things for a coach is to have to only put nine guys in the lineup because they all work hard, they all lift weights, they all show up to practice and put in the effort. So one of the things you struggle with as a coach is having to disappoint the kids that don’t get to play. To have a game where you get to get everybody in the lineup… it’s good to get guys out there on the field just to get a feel for that. I think the morale of the team is better when everybody feels like they are a part of it..”- Head Coach Mark Kingston
Taylor’s grand slam gave South Carolina an 8-0 lead and the Gamecocks cruised the rest of the way.
Tolbert hit the first home run to right field this season in Founders Park. There were eight home runs to left by South Carolina and three by the opponents before Tolbert’s blast.
- South Carolina sets season highs for runs and hits in tonight’s 15-2 win.
- Hunter Taylorand LT Tolbert each had a career-high in RBI in tonight’s win. Taylor and Tolbert each had a career high of three RBI before the Winthrop game.
- Junior Gage Hinsonhas now pitched five innings of scoreless relief after tonight’s outing. He has a pair of strikeouts and has allowed just one hit.
- Senior Justin Rowpicked up his second extra-base hit of the season with his double in the fifth. Row was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI in tonight’s win.
- South Carolina used 15 position players and six pitchers in tonight’s win.
- Wednesday’s attendance at Founders Park was 6,080.
The Gamecocks continue their 10-game homestand this weekend, hosting Charleston Southern. The series begins on Friday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. at Founders park.