Charleston, S.C. - Fifth ranked South Carolina belted three home runs and freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings to earn his fourth win of the year as the Gamecocks defeated The Citadel 9-5 at Riley Park in front of 5,838 fans on Tuesday evening. The Gamecocks improved to 18-3 with The Citadel now 14-8 on the year.
Grayson Greiner tallied a two-run homer in the third inning, LB Dantzler added a solo shot in the fourth inning and Joey Pankake hit a two-run homer in the ninth to help lead the Gamecocks to a win. Both Greiner and Pankake drove in three runs as well.
Wynkoop is now 4-0 on the year. He struck out five batters and walked just one. Senior left-hander Tyler Webb pitched two perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up his eighth save of the season. The Citadel starting pitcher Logan Cribb suffered the loss and is 1-2 for the season. He lasted only 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
"I'm proud of our team," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "We played well for the most part. We had some quality at bats today, a lot of guys contributed. The Citadel has a good offensive team. It was a good win for us on the road."
The Citadel broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Mason Davis led off with a triple to center field as he knocked a 1-2 pitch from Wynkoop over the head of Shon Carson in centerfield. Davis would then score on a one-out sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Joe Jackson.
South Carolina went ahead 2-1 with a pair of runs in the top of the third. After a leadoff single by Connor Bright, the Gamecocks would grab the lead on a two-run homer by Greiner. The Gamecock catcher absolutely crushed a 3-2 pitch from Cribb over the wall in center for his second homer of the season.
Dantzler increased the Carolina lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning with a solo homer, his team-leading seventh of the season. Dantzler knocked a 3-1 pitch from Cribb over the right field wall.
A pair of unearned runs extended the Gamecock lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning. TJ Costen opened the frame reaching base on a throwing error by third baseman Bret Hines. Carolina then put runners on second and third as Shon Carson reached on his sac bunt attempt as The Citadel reliever Zach Sherrill committed a throwing error trying to nab Carson at first. Chase Vergason would drive in Costen with a RBI groundout and Joey Pankake ripped a RBI single up the middle to score Carson.
The Citadel got a run back in the sixth inning. Drew DeKerlegand opened the frame with a walk. With one out, Bo Thompson knocked a single to the gap in right field. DeKerlegand would score on a fielder's choice. Carolina answered in the top of the seventh. Costen led off with a double to left field and after a passed ball scored on Carson's sacrifice fly to right field.
The Bulldogs responded though and crept to within a run in the bottom of the seventh inning scoring three times. With runners on second and third and one out, DeKerlegand laced a triple into the gap in left-center. On a play at third base, Joey Pankake's throw went low and past Chase Vergason and allowed for DeKerlegand to scamper home and make it a one-run contest.
The Gamecocks fought back in the top of the eighth. Kyle Martin struck with a pinch-hit double and after pinch runner Tanner English was sacrificed over to third base, he would score on Greiner's sacrifice fly to center field. Webb retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth and Pankake gave Carolina a pair of insurance runs with a two-run homer to left field in the ninth inning, his fifth home run of the season.
"They threw a haymaker at us (in the bottom of the seventh inning)," said Coach Holbrook. "Our guys responded. It was good to see Grayson swing it well tonight."
South Carolina returns to action this weekend hosting a three-game series vs. Arkansas.