March 12, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Alex Destino and Dom Thompson-Williams each hit two-run homers and Braden Webb pitched 5.2 scoreless innings to earn his third win of the year as 16th ranked South Carolina defeated Charleston Southern 5-4 to clinch the weekend series. The Gamecocks are now 14-2 with Charleston Southern 8-7 on the year.
Webb allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out four batters. He is 3-1 on the year. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief for his fifth save of the season. Charleston Southern starter Daniel Johnson suffered the loss and is 2-2 for the season. He allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Destino gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first inning. After John Jones reached base on a two-out single, Destino launched a 3-0 pitch from Johnson into the Gamecock bullpen in right-center.
Another 2-run homer, this one from Dom Thompson-Williams in the fourth inning extended the lead to four runs. Destino would lead off with a walk to set the stage for Thompson-Williams, who launched a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall. Destino made it 5-0 in the fifth inning with a RBI single.
Charleston Southern would look to rally in the late innings with a run in the seventh and three more in the eighth. Sly Edwards tripled with two outs in the eighth and scored on Bryan Dye’s RBI single. Mason McClellan added a two-run single as well as the Bucs got to within a run.
In the ninth, Ryan Maksim led off with a single. The Gamecocks then got a big play from junior third baseman Jonah Bride, who charged in on Mike Sconzo’s sac bunt attempt. Bride fielded cleanly and threw a perfect strike to second base to get the first out of the inning. The Gamecocks would get two more consecutive outs to preserve the win.
Destino and Thompson-Williams’ two-run homers gave the Gamecocks the early cushion.
South Carolina pitchers combined for 15.0 scoreless innings in game one of the CSU series and up to the seventh inning of game two.
Destino and Thompson-Williams both tied John Jones for the team lead with four homers on the year. Thompson-Williams has reached base in all 16 games this year. Destino also extended his hitting streak to eight games.
South Carolina played its fourth consecutive game without an error. In addition, the Gamecocks have not committed an error in six of the last seven games.
South Carolina is 12-0 on the year when scoring first.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“We are very fortunate that our team found a way to win the game today. I think Charleston Southern played some great baseball, especially the last three innings. We were lucky to hold on. We obviously made some mistakes and every mistake we made Charleston Southern capitalized on it. It got to a tight game, with that being said our team found a way to win. They certainly don’t ask you at the end of the season how you won your games, they just ask you how many you won. We feel very fortunate to have won this one. A couple of things happened in the game to allow us to win it. Obviously a a big swing of the bat in the first inning from Alex Destino and then Dom Thompson-Williams got into one. Those two home runs proved to be the difference. We squandered a few other opportunities there that could have made it a little easier for us to win. Then Jonah Bride won’t go unnoticed. Not many people will say much about it from a stat sheet standpoint but he had the moxie and the guts to make two really big plays there in the ninth inning, starting off with the bunt play. That took some savvy and some confidence. It took some guts for him to make that throw and then that play to end the game. Hopefully we’ll come to the park ready to play tomorrow. Certainly we still have a lot to work, both from a position player standpoint and a pitchers standpoint and we will see if we can continue to improve.”
South Carolina and Charleston Southern close out the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”