April 5, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C.. – Junior right-hander Taylor Widener worked five-plus inning to earn his first win of the season and combined with three relievers to limit 20th-ranked Coastal Carolina to five hits as sixth-ranked South Carolina earned a 4-2 victory Tuesday night at Founders Park. The Gamecocks are 25-5 on the year with Coastal dropping to 20-10 on the season.
Widener tied a season high with five innings pitched and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He is 1-1 on the year. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched two scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts for his eighth save of the season. Coastal Carolina started Zach Hopeck suffered the loss and is 1-2 on the season. He allowed three runs on four hits in 3.1 innings.
South Carolina broke ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. LT Tolbert singled with one out followed by a walk to John Jones. Dom Thompson-Williams would drive a double into the gap in right-center to score Tolbert and Jonah Bride tallied a RBI groundout to score Jones.
Carolina increased the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bride led off with a walk and advanced to third on DC Arendas’ one out single to right field. TJ Hopkins would drive in Bride with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Coastal would score an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning. With one out and a runner on second base, Billy Cooke hit a grounder to short. On the play, Marcus Mooney threw high to first base allowing Connor Owings to score. The Chanticleers added another run in the top of the sixth. Owings drove in Anthony Marks with a single to left field.
The Gamecocks added a run in the bottom of the seventh. Marcus Mooney singled to left field followed by a single from Gene Cone. Both runners advanced on a groundout from Tolbert and Mooney scored on a wild pitch.
Marcus Mooney’s run in the seventh inning on a wild pitch gave the Gamecocks a little insurance and increased the lead to a pair of runs.
Taylor Widener tied his season-high innings pitched at five and allowed just two hits and one walk in his outing.
– Gene Cone extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
– Dom Thompson-Williams and DC Arendas each had two hits apiece to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
– South Carolina is now 21-0 on the year when out-hitting its opponent and 24-0 when leading entering the seventh inning.
– The Gamecocks are 19-1 at home this season and are 7-3 in games decided by three runs or less.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“I thought this game was a great opportunity for a lot of different reasons. We’re playing a great Coastal Carolina team that has been really playing well as of late and is going to have a tremendous second half of the season. They’re so talented and have some great relief pitching. They’re starters had a great year last year. I know they been struggling a little bit, but they have the makings of a regional host type team. With their RPI as high as it is and our RPI being in pretty good shape, I thought it would be an important game for a lot of different reasons if both teams continue to play well.
It was good to come out with the win. I think Taylor [Widener] got us off to a good start. He pitched very, very well. I think he got tired there a little bit his last couple of hitters, but he threw the ball well. He was much more efficient than he has been and had much more command of the strike zone. That’s a big boost to our pitching staff, from a depth standpoint.”
South Carolina hosts Tennessee in a three-games series this weekend at Founders Park with Friday’s first pitch set for 7 p.m. It will be broadcast live on SEC Network +. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”