Carolina Cruises To 5-0 With 16-4 Win Over Winthrop
By USC SID
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — Fifteenth-ranked South Carolina jumped out to a six-run lead in the first inning and belted out 16 hits on the way to a 16-4 victory over Winthrop on Wednesday at Founders Park. The Gamecocks are now 5-0 on the year with Winthrop dropping to 4-1 for the season.
South Carolina broke ahead 6-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Marcus Mooney led off with a walk, John Jones singled and Jonah Bride walked to load the bases with one out. Alex Destino would drive in Mooney with a fielder’s choice. Jones would then score on a balk and Chris Cullen knocked in the third run with a two-out RBI base hit to left-center. After LT Tolbert was hit by a pitch, TJ Hopkins crushed his first career homer to left-center to increase the lead to six runs.
Carolina increased the lead to 8-0 in the second inning. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Destino knocked an RBI single into right field scoring Mooney. A double steal with Bride and Destino would lead to the eighth run.
The Gamecocks added three more runs in the sixth inning as well as five in the seventh. Destino, Tolbert and Hopkins all had RBIs in the sixth with Tolbert driving in two more in the seventh and Destino tallying his fourth RBI of the game as well. Winthrop would score a run in the seventh and two in the ninth.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Haswell earned his first win of his career with three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed one unearned run on two hits with a strikeout.
The Gamecocks scored six runs in the first inning on the way to a 16-4 win.
Eight of nine Gamecock starters scored at least one run.
It was the first game of the season that the Gamecocks have scored in the first inning.
Right-hander Canaan Cropper recorded a new career high with eight strikeouts and career high longest outing with 3.2 innings pitched in his first start of the season.
Alex Destino tied career-high with four RBI, it marked the fourth time he has reached that mark.
The 16 runs is a season high for Carolina and tied the fifth-highest in the Chad Holbrook era.
Five Gamecocks finished with multi-hit games. Destino went 3-for-4 with Thompson-Williams, Jones, Tolbert and Hopkins with two hits apiece also.
Destino and Hopkins both had four RBIs for the afternoon. Tolbert drove in three runs with Chris Cullen adding two RBI as well.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“It was a good win for us. We told the guys after the game that the win will hopefully mean something later in the year from a RPI standpoint. Winthrop won 40 games a year ago, got a lot of guys back and I think were picked to finish pretty high in the Big South. It was a good game to win. We performed well. We got off to a good start in the first. I’m really proud of Canaan Cropper. Those weren’t easy conditions to pitch in. He and Tyler Haswell pitched outstanding. I was happy to see Vince [Fiori] and Matt Vogel do well too. Tyler [Johnson] and Brandon [Murray] were a little bit rusty but they’ll be fine. We just needed to get them out there and get some work done. Those were hard conditions to play in, especially pitching and fielding. We made a couple of errors, but all in all it was certainly nice to see some of our guys perform at a high level. It’s great to get a win over a very good Winthrop team.”
The Gamecocks host Penn State for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”