Greenville, S.C - After trailing by three runs, 11th ranked South Carolina stormed back to take a one-run lead in the top of the seventh inning but Furman answered with a homer in the bottom half of the seventh and an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the Gamecocks 6-5 on Wednesday evening in non-conference action at Fluor Field. The loss drops Carolina to 23-7 with Furman now 17-11 on the year.
Down 4-1 entering the top of the sixth, South Carolina mounted a rally with a single run in that frame and three more runs in the seventh to go ahead 5-4. Dante Rosenberg had a two-out single in the sixth to cut the deficit to two runs. In the seventh inning, the momentum continued. George Iskenderian led off with a base hit to center. A walk to LB Dantzler and a single off the top of the green monster in left by pinch hitter Connor Bright loaded the bases. Max Schrock would drive in Iskenderian with a single to left field. Schrock knocked a 2-1 pitch right through the left side for a run. Brison Celek then came up with a big bat as he drilled a 3-1 pitch just off the top of the wall in left-center to score two more runs and give the Gamecocks a one-run cushion.
Furman responded in the bottom half of the seventh though with the second homer of the game, a solo shot by Taylor Johnson to left field to tie it at 5-5, his third hit of the game. The bottom of the eighth, the Paladins caught a break as Alex Abrams reached base to open the inning on a fielding error by Dantzler at first base. With one out, Abrams would score as pinch hitter Griffin Davis' RBI double to the gap in right-center put Furman back in front by a run. The Gamecocks looked to rally one more time in the ninth as Celek drew a two-out walk followed by a walk to Rosenberg. Pinch hitter Grayson Greiner grounded into a fielder's choice to the shortstop for the final out of the game preserving Furman's win.
Fruman reliever Ben Carlson earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief with three hits allowed. He is 3-1 on the year. Matt Solter picked up a save with one scoreless inning of relief, his sixth of the season. South Carolina freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop suffered the loss and is 4-1 on the year. He allowed one run, unearned, on one hit in 0.2 innings with a strikeout.
South Carolina lost despite having 10 hits to Furman's nine in the game. Iskenderian and Celek each had two hits. Celek reached base in all five plate appearances. Johnson went 3-for-3 with three RBI with Chris Ohmstede 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored to lead Furman at the plate.
Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Graham Saiko led off with a walk, stole second base and scored on Iskenderian's RBI double down the right field line. Iskenderian laced a 2-2 pitch from Furman starter Jake Wolff just inside the line to score Saiko for the first run of the game.
Furman would score twice in the bottom of the third to take a one-run lead. Jordan Simpson doubled down the left field line with one out and Will Muzika followed with a walk. With two outs and both runners in scoring position, Johnson bounced a base hit through the right side to give the Paladins a 2-1 advantage. That lead increased to 3-1 in the fourth inning as Ohmstede homered over the left field wall for his seventh homer of the season.
South Carolina threatened in the top of the fifth inning. Brison Celek led off with a walk, TJ Costen singled with one out and Graham Saiko followed with a walk to load the bases. Furman right-hander Drake Browne fought back though and struck out both Iskenderian and Joey Pankake to keep the Paladins ahead by a pair of runs. Furman added a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hunter Burton drew a one-out walk and on the hit and run advanced to third on Taylor Johnson's base hit to right field. Burton would score on Paul Nitto's fielder's choice to make it 4-1.
South Carolina returns to conference action this weekend with a three-game series at Tennessee this weekend. First pitch for the opener on Friday is set for 6 p.m.