Feb. 18, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jackie Bradley Jr. went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and junior left-hander Michael Roth worked 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs as South Carolina opened up the 2011 season with a 12-5 win over Santa Clara in front of a capacity crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium. The defending NCAA champions pounded out 13 hits with Christian Walker and Scott Wingo also adding homers.
Roth worked into the sixth inning and tallied a career-high six strikeouts to pick up the win. He is 1-0 on the year. Santa Clara starter Brock Simon suffered the loss and is 0-1 on the year. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings.
The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning as Scott Wingo led off with a double and scored on a one-out RBI base hit by Jackie Bradley Jr. That lead extended to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth as Bradley tallied his third hit of the day, a two-run homer to right field.
Santa Clara would get on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Pat Stover tallied a RBI and Kyle DeMerritt adding an RBI single to cut the Gamecocks lead to two runs. South Carolina answered in the bottom half of the sixth with a pair of runs to go ahead 6-2. Carolina drew five consecutive walks in the inning with Brady Thomas and Adrian Morales each tallying a RBI on their two-out walks.
The Broncos made it tight though on the Gamecocks in the top of the eighth inning as they put together six straight one-out singles with Stover driving in two more runs and Lucas Herbst adding a RBI hit. With the bases loaded and one out, the Gamecocks went to senior right-hander John Taylor, who induced a 6-4-3 double play against Quinton Perry to keep the Gamecocks ahead by a run.
With a 6-5 lead, the Gamecocks added insurance scoring six times to take a 12-5 advantage. Adam Matthews drew a one-out walk followed by a 12-pitch at bat from Bradley who doubled to the gap in right center to give the Gamecocks two runs in scoring position. That set the stage for Christian Walker, who crushed a three-run homer to left center giving the Gamecocks some breathing room. Robert Beary added a sacrifice fly RBI and Scott Wingo hit a two-run homer.
Carolina finished with 13 hits to Santa Clara’s 10 on the afternoon. Bradley’s 4-for-4 day was highlighted by his first homer of the year and a pair of doubles. He scored three times and drove in three runs. Walker was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Wingo finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Seven of the nine Gamecocks in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Justin Viele was 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Santa Clara at the plate. Kyle DeMerrit also had two hits for the Broncos.
Friday’s game included many festivities as the defending national champions played the first home game since winning the championship in Omaha in 2010. The United States Air Force conducted a flyover, the new national championship flag was raised and several former Gamecocks including 2010 All-America pitcher Blake Cooper were honored before the game. Also back from last year’s team was Parker Bangs, Kyle Enders, Bobby Haney, Jeffery Jones, Jordan Propst and Whit Merrifield.
Game two of the series is set for 3 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. Live video broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline.com. The game can also be heard in its entirety on WISW 1320 AM.