March 24, 2016
OXFORD, Miss. – All nine Gamecock starters tallied at least one hit and sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt allowed just one run in 6.2 innings of work to improve to 6-0 for the season as 10th ranked South Carolina defeated sixth ranked Ole Miss 5-1 in the series opener at Swayze Field. The Gamecocks improve to 21-2 and 4-0 in the SEC with the loss dropping Ole Miss to 20-3 and 2-2 in league play.
Gene Cone went 3-for-4 with two runs and his first home run of the season. Jonah Bride added two hits as well. Schmidt allowed one run on nine hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief for his seventh save of the year. Ole Miss starter Brady Bramlett suffered the loss and is 4-1 for the season. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings with three walks and six strikeouts.
South Carolina broke ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Bramlett walked Cone to open the game and LT Tolbert followed with a walk as well to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners. Alex Destino drove in Cone with a one-out RBI single up the middle and Bride knocked a two-out 1-2 pitch into right field for a base hit to score Tolbert.
Cone increased the lead to 3-0 with a solo homer in the top of the second. On a 1-2 pitch, Cone launched his first homer of the season over the right field wall. Ole Miss struck together three consecutive one-out singles to cut Carolina’s lead to a pair of runs. Will Golsan, Errol Robinson and J.B. Woodman all collected base hits with Woodman coming up with the RBI single.
The Gamecocks chased Bramlett in the fifth and went ahead 4-1 as Thompson-Williams drove in Tolbert with a one-out single. Carolina would get some insurance in the ninth inning. Bride doubled to the gap in right-center with one out followed by a double off the left field wall off the bat of Chris Cullen to give the Gamecocks the 5-1 lead.
Carolina tagged Bramlett for three runs in the first two innings on the way to the four-run victory.
Carolina’s lineup put together 13 hits at the plate as well as seven walks while Schmidt and Reagan allowed 11 hits but just one walk. All 11 hits for Ole Miss were singles while the Gamecocks had four doubles and a homer for five extra base hits.
Alex Destino’s first inning single extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Dom Thompson-Williams has reached base safely in all 23 games this year. His fifth inning single also extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Gene Cone’s 2nd inning homer was just his third career homer as a Gamecocks. Cone’s last homer came on April 12, 2015 at Florida.
The Gamecocks are now 15-0 on the year when hitting at least one home run and 18-0 when scoring first.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“Gene (Cone) had a great night. He got the game started on the right note, hit a home run, had three hits. He set the tone for us. Clarke (Schmidt) gutted it out, pitched well. They got 11 hits and only one run. We escaped some innings, they hits some balls on the nose that were caught. He has some toughness about him. He is just a great competitor. He bowed his neck in some big situations when they had some runners on base.”
Game two of the series is set for Friday, Mar. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET 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.”