Feb. 26, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fifteenth-ranked South Carolina belted out 14 hits with sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt pitching seven scoreless frames allowing just one hit as well as the Gamecocks defeated Penn State 7-1 at Founders Park on Friday afternoon.
Schmidt’s stint was the longest of his career and he tired a career-high with eight strikeouts to secure the victory. He is now 2-0 on the year. Junior right-hander Colie Bowers closed out the game with six strikeouts in two innings of relief. Penn State’s starter Taylor Lehman suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings of work.
John Jones put the Gamecocks on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out homer to left field to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks increased the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second. With LT Tolbert on second following a leadoff walk and wild pitch, Chris Cullen brought Tolbert home with a double to left field. Marcus Mooney followed with a bunt for a base hit. On the play, Penn State second baseman Christian Helsel’s shovel throw went past the first baseman allowing Cullen to score. Jones would drive in his second run of the game with a two-out single to score Mooney.
Clark Scolamiero and TJ Hopkins both singled to start the bottom of the sixth and Dom Thompson-Williams drove Scolamiero in with a double down the right field line. Jones then drove in two more runs with a bloop single to make it 7-0. The Nittany Lions scored their lone run with two outs in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by Jim Haley.
A three-run second inning gave the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.
All nine Gamecocks in the starting lineup reached base at least once and tallied at least one hit. Seven of the nine scored runs also.
â€¢ John Jones recorded a career-high four RBI and leads the team with 13 on the year. Jones went 4-for-4 on the day with a home run, three singles and a walk.
â€¢ Clarke Schmidt set a career-long outing of seven innings and tied his career-high of eight strikeouts.
â€¢ Jonah Bride was hit by a pitch and has been hit a team-high seven times on the year.
â€¢ Dom Thompson-Williams was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored and Marcus Mooney finished 2-for-3 with a run scored as well.
“It was obviously a good win for us. I thought the pitcher from Penn State had a really good arm, maybe a little bit more than what we thought from the scouting report. Our guys battled him pretty well. [John] Jones got us off to a good start in the first inning. Then we put three more across there in the second and felt pretty good about the game at that point. Clarke Schmidt was outstanding. He had a very efficient seven innings, 81 pitches and he struck out eight. He was very polished with his command for the most part. He was in control of the game from the beginning. When he throws the ball the way that he is capable, he’s tough to handle. It was great to see him throw the ball that way tonight. I was proud of Colie [Bowers] for coming in and getting six strikeouts in two innings. His changeup is a very good pitch. He threw the ball well. Obviously [John] Jones stood out, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, but some of our other guys had some good at-bats too. We’ll take it, and we look forward to coming to compete at the park tomorrow.”
The Gamecocks and Nittany Lions return to Founders Park for game two of the three-game series on Saturday with first pitch set for 2 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.”