COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina took advantage of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the fifth inning to plate all the runs they would need as Charleston Southern fell to the host Gamecocks on Wednesday night in Founders Park, 3-0.
The Buccaneers (11-7) threatened to cut into the USC (15-5) late in the eighth inning as CSU put two in scoring position with one out following a pair of singles from Mike Sconzo and Cole German. However, USC reliever Colie Bowers (S, 2) shut down the CSU threat and kept the Bucs off the scoreboard in the ninth to preserve the Gamecocks' shutout.
Tyler Weekley (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season after going 4.1 innings and allowing five hits and two runs. The redshirt sophomore right-hander pitched around Gamecocks' hits in the second and third innings before leaving after a USC sacrifice fly in the fifth. Ryan Stoudemire, Eddie Hiott, Wil Hartsell, and Cody Smith all pitched in relief for the Bucs in the loss.
Graham Lawson (2-0) picked up his second win of the season for the Gamecocks, going 5.0 innings and allowing two hits while striking out two. John Parke and Reed Scott bridged the gap to Bowers.
LT Tolbert started off the fifth with a leadoff single and advanced to third on Madison Stokes' base hit. After Stokes stole second, Hunter Taylor connected on the sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring the first Gamecock run of the game. Alex Destino brought in the second with an RBI single off of reliever Ryan Stoudemire, while Matt Williams scored on Jacob Olsen's bases-loaded walk to put the score at 3-0 after five innings.
Chris Singleton ended the Gamecocks' sixth inning with a diving catch in shallow centerfield after USC loaded the bases with two outs in the inning. Tyler Kinney ended the Gamecocks threat in the seventh using his momentum on the shallow fly ball to left field to catch Jonah Bride attempting to score for the inning-ending double play.
The Bucs mounted a one-out rally in the eighth as Sconzo reached on an infield single and Cole German followed with a base hit that dropped just over the shortstop's head in left field to put two on. Kinney's grounder to the right side moved both runners into scoring position, but USC reliever Colie Bowers ended the CSU threat to keep the Bucs off the scoreboard.
Smith gave the Bucs a chance with a perfect inning in the bottom of the eighth. The junior relief ace struck out the side, setting down Madison Stokes, Taylor, and Hopkins in order heading into the final frame.
- Jason Miller's nine-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday night, but the redshirt sophomore third baseman reached double-digits in his on-base streak with the ninth inning walk. Miller became the third Buccaneer to reach double-digits this season on base joining Mike Sconzo (12) and Brandon Gragilla (11) on the season.
- Cody Smith striking out the side in the South Carolina eighth inning was just the second time a Buccaneer set down all three batters he faced in an inning on strikes in the 2017 season. Nik Constantakos was the first with the freshman retiring the first three batters he faced on strikes this past Saturday at Longwood.
"They're a really good team; they're top 10 in the country for a reason. They have a competitive lineup that just battles and gets after you. I thought our guys on the mound competed well. Tyler (Weekley) went out there and gave us a good start. Our bullpen come out and did their thing against a really good lineup," – Interim Head Coach Adam Ward on the CSU pitching staff against the Gamecocks.
"It was a good game. We were just short of coming up with that big hit that we needed tonight. We've got a lot of guys who were putting together a lot of good at-bats and just not coming up with something to show for it. We'll just keep plugging away and we'll get those big hits eventually," – Ward's final comment on the game.
Charleston Southern returns home to welcome Liberty for a Big South Conference series this weekend at the CSU Ballpark. First pitch of Friday night's opener is set for 6 p.m.