Columbia, S.C. - Sixth ranked South Carolina pounded out 13 hits including a pair of homers from Connor Bright and Joey Pankake as the Gamecocks defeated Rider 9-5 on Saturday afternoon in game two of a three-game series. The Gamecocks improve to 12-2 with Rider dropping to 6-3 for the season. The series concludes on Sunday with first pitch at 1:30 p.m. Live video broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel. The game can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game."
The 13-hit afternoon would feature hits from eight of the nine Gamecock position starters. Pankake and Bright each had two hits with two RBI and two runs scored. Chase Vergason went 2-for-4 with two RBI as well. Dante Rosenberg and Shon Carson went 2-for-4 also with each scoring a run and driving in a run.
Joel Seddon earned the win after one inning of relief. He is 1-0 on the year. He allowed one run, unearned, on one hit with one walk and two strikeouts. He was followed up by senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland, who earned his first save of the year after hurling 3.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and walking just one while striking out three batters. Rider starting pitcher Kurt Sowa suffered the loss and is 2-1 on the year. He worked 3.1 innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout.
Rider went ahead 1-0 in the top of the second inning with an unearned run. Jerry Mulderig led off with a base hit. South Carolina starting pitcher Colby Holmes attempted to nab Mulderig at first on a pickoff but his throw sailed past Gamecock first baseman LB Dantzler and Mulderig advanced all the way to third base. He would then score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Greg Fazio.
The Gamecocks responded in the bottom half of the second though sending eight batters to the plate and scoring three runs. Max Schrock opened the frame with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Connor Bright's RBI single to left field. The hit parade kept going as Curt Britt recorded his first career hit with a single to left field followed by Dante Rosenberg, who knocked a RBI single up the middle scoring Bright. Shon Carson put Carolina ahead 3-1 with a RBI groundout plating home Britt. Bright factored in again in the third inning as he gave Carolina a 4-1 lead with a solo home run to left field, his first career homer as a Gamecock.
Carolina chased Sowa in the bottom of the fourth with four more runs to take an 8-1 lead. Rosenberg reached base for a second time on a hit by pitch and Carson gave Carolina a pair of runners with a base hit as he set down a perfect push bunt and outraced the Broncs defense to first base. After a sacrifice run by Saiko advanced the runners into scoring position, Chase Vergason connected with a two-run single to left field scoring both runners. After a walk to Joey Pankake, the Broncs went to the pen for left-hander Joe Calogero. Schrock would drive in Vergason with a two-out RBI single and a pair of wild pitches would allow Pankake to score.
Rider answered the Gamecocks with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. With one out and a runner on first base, Holmes walked James Locklear and gave up a single to Eric Strano to load the bases. Ian Lindsay's RBI single tallied a run for the Broncs. South Carolina went to the bullpen for right-hander Joel Seddon, who fanned the first batter he faced with a strikeout. With two outs and the bases still full, Maulderig tallied his second hit of the day with a two-run single to center cutting the Carolina lead to 8-4.
The Broncs added a run in the sixth inning to cut the Gamecock lead to three runs. With one out and Mike Parsons on first base, Nick Crescenzo hit a small roller back to Seddon. With Parsons rushing to second base, Seddon threw low and past the base in an attempt to force out Parsons, who made his way to third after the throw went into the outfield. Parsons would score on a fielder's choice.
Joey Pankake's third home run in the last four games pushed the Gamecock lead back to four runs to open the bottom of the sixth. Pankake crushed the first pitch he saw from Calogero into the bullpen in left-center.