CofC falls short at USC on Tuesday

(CofC SID)-

COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 14 South Carolina hit three home runs and tallied 14 hits in a 10-6 win over College of Charleston on Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium.

The Gamecocks (28-10) won the season series with Charleston (20-16), who has now lost the last four mid-week games to talented competition.

CofC's pitching staff was short-handed in the mid-week effort, as the Cougars threw six different pitchers, including weekend starters Matt Pegler and Ryan West. Freshman Player Loving (1-2) picked up the loss as he made his first career start, lasting into the second inning but allowing five runs on five hits.

South Carolina starter Forrest Koumas only lasted 2.1 IP and gave up four CofC runs. Reliever Vince Fiori (1-0) picked up the win with his own two-and-a-third innings, allowing one run and striking out two.

Sophomore Gunnar Heidt led the CofC offense with a three-hit performance, scoring two runs and tallying an RBI. Brandon Murray notched two RBIs, including a double, while freshman Carl Wise continued his hitting streak with a two-hit game, driving home a run and scoring a run. Sophomore Devon Reed set a new season high with two runs scored.

South Carolina's Graham Saiko, Connor Bright and Joey Pankake all hit home runs for the Gamecocks. Saiko finished with four hits, while Bright tallied three RBIs in the game. Pankake also notched three RBI to go with his three hits.

The Gamecocks jumped on Loving in the second inning with four runs on three hits. Bright hit a two-run homer to left field, and Tanner English and Saiko followed with two singles. With the bases loaded, Pankake and LB Dantzler hit RBI sacrifice flies to push South Carolina's lead to 5-0.

Charleston rallied back in the top of the third inning with four big hits to score four runs. After a hit by pitch from Reed and single from Wise, Heidt launched a single to left to score CofC's first run. Murray followed with an RBI double, and Ben Boykin hit a sacrifice fly to the outfield to score another run. With two outs, pinch-hitter Cody Martin kept the rally going with a big double to right center, scoring Murray and cutting the lead to 5-4.

The back-and-forth continued in the bottom half of the inning when South Carolina's Bright knocked an RBI double and Saiko hit a two-out single over the outstretched glove of Blake Butler to score another run, pushing the lead back to 7-4.

Charleston scored an unearned run in the fourth inning with an RBI groundout from Wise, but the Cougars offense became stagnant from there.

South Carolina added three big insurance runs late in the game, with a two-run homer from Pankake in the sixth inning and a solo shot from Saiko in the eighth.

Heidt hit a two-out double in the ninth inning and Murray singled him in to put the final score at 10-6.

College of Charleston will host Furman this weekend in yet another important SoCon series with the Cougars currently just a half-game out of first place in the league standings.