It was another soggy night in Columbia, but the rain didn’t dampen the Gamecocks bats, as they blanked the visiting Cardinals 10-0 Tuesday night.
Carolina first got on the board in the second inning. Connor Bright and Dante Rosenberg knocked back-to-back singles to start things off, then with one out, Tanner English singled to bring Bright home and get Rosenberg to third. Graham Saiko roped a base hit to right field to get Rosenberg in, and then a wild pitch and passed ball brought English across the plate to make it 3-0 Cocks.
USC added to their lead in the third inning. LB Dantzler led off by getting a free base after being hit by a pitch, then Max Schrock singled and Bright laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Rosenberg grounded out, but he also earned an RBI as Dantzler came home and increased the score to 4-0 in favor of the Yardcocks.
South Carolina really broke things open in the fourth. English took a walk to begin the inning, but he was caught trying to steal second. Saiko followed that up with a single and successful steal, then Vergason walked to put runners at first and second. Joey Pankake followed that with a three-run bomb, his first home run of the season, to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead.
The sixth inning saw the Cocks pad their lead some more. Pankake and Dantzler took back-to-back one-out walks, then Schrock reached on a fielder’s choice (Dantzler was out). With runners on the corners, pinch-hitter Erik Payne walked to load the bags. Rosenberg laced a single that brought in Pankake. Carolina had a chance to really blow things open as the bases were still loaded with only one out, but they were unable to bring any runners home.
The Yardcocks tacked on another run in the seventh, and again, walks played a big part. Pinch-hitters TJ Costen and George Iskenderian were both walked, then Brison Celek, also pinch-hitting, knocked a two-out base hit to bring Costen across the dish and make it 9-0 USC.
The Gamecocks got into double digits in the eighth inning, as Sean Sullivan walked, then got to second and third on wild pitches. With two outs, English singled and Sullivan came home.
Ball State’s best (and only, really) scoring chance came in the sixth inning, when they had runners on the corners with two outs, but a fly out ended the inning with no damage done.
Freshman Jack Wynkoop looked great in his second start of the season, retiring the first 16 batters he faced, before giving up his first hit in the sixth inning. Wynkoop worked six innings and allowed just two hits, no runs, and no walks, and had five strikeouts. He earned the win and is now 2-0 on the season. Vince Fiori, Joel Seddon, and Forrest Koumas each pitched an inning and notched two strikeouts apiece. Koumas was the only one to allow a hit. Carolina pitchers have not allowed a walk since Colby Holmes had one in Saturday’s loss to Clemson.
Cardinals starter Nestor Bautista went just over three innings today and allowed seven runs and nine hits. He also issued three walks; Ball State pitching allowed 10 total walks today. Bautista drops to 0-2 on the season.
Saiko was 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Cocks at the plate. Blake Beemer, Elbert DaVarie, and Wes Winkle were the only Ball State players to tally a hit.
The only unfortunate news to come from this game actually doesn’t even involve someone who played. Coach Chad Holbrook announced after the game that pitcher Jordan Montgomery has a “stress reaction” and will miss at least two weeks while he recovers. In other pitching news, Curt Britt will get his first start tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. As always, follow @CockyCountry on Twitter for live updates and commentary.