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Baseball Rallies for an 8-6 Victory Over Winthrop
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Baseball Rallies for an 8-6 Victory Over Winthrop

March 8, 2017

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COLUMBIA, S.C.Chris Cullen and Alex Destino each homered and seventh ranked South Carolina rallied with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Winthrop 8-6 on Wednesday night at Founders Park. With the win, the Gamecocks improved to 9-5 on the year, while Winthrop dropped to 5-7 overall.

With Carolina trailing 6-4 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gamecocks fought back as Alex Destino led off the frame with a solo home run to right field, his third homer of the year. Jonah Bride followed with a double and Chris Cullen was hit by a pitch to give the Gamecocks runners on first and second with no outs. Carolina then tied it at 6-6 as Madison Stokes executed a successful sacrifice bunt. On the play, Winthrop reliever Riley Arnone threw wide of first base and Bride scampered home with Cullen advancing to third and Stokes moving to second base. Carlos Cortes would give Carolina a 7-6 lead with a sac fly to left field scoring Cullen. A passed ball and a wild pitch would bring home Stokes giving the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.

Senior right-hander Reed Scott earned his first victory of the season and is now 1-1 overall. He gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in five innings of relief. Winthrop’s left-hander Riley Arnone suffered the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the year after facing four batters and giving up four runs on two hits.

With four runs in the top of the first, Winthrop got out to an early lead thanks to three singles and a triple. Junior left-hander Brandon Murray struck out the first batter, but Mitch Spires hit a single up the middle, Anthony Paulsen walked and Hunter Lipscomb singled to center to load the bases for Babe Thomas, who brought them all in with a three-run triple to right field. Grant English knocked in Thomas after singling to left field, giving the Eagles a 4-0 lead.

The Gamecocks got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as TJ Hopkins led off with a walk, advanced on LT Tolbert’s single and came home after Matt Williams lifted a sacrifice fly to right field

Winthrop added a run in the top of the third as Thomas led off with a single to right center and C.J. Hicks drove him in with a one-run double to right center.

After Jonah Bride opened the bottom of the fourth off with a single up the middle, Chris Cullen brought him home with a two-run homer to left field. The Eagles responded in the top of the fifth inning with one run, giving them a 6-3 lead.

Williams brought the Gamecocks closer in the seventh with a two-out RBI single to score Hopkins and cut the deficit to a pair of runs.

The four-run eighth inning lifted the Gamecocks to an 8-6 victory over Winthrop.

Colby Lee and Reed Scott combined to allow just two runs in 8.2 innings of relief for the Gamecocks.

• Freshman right-hander Colby Lee made his first career appearance for the Gamecocks. He allowed just one run on three hits in 3.2 innings of work with two walks and four strikeouts.
• Chris Cullen homered for a second consecutive day. He went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.
• Matt Williams extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He went 1-for-2 at the plate with two RBI.
• Reed Scott recorded a career-high 8 strikeouts. His previous high of seven came vs. The Citadel on May 13, 2014.

Head Coach Chad Holbrook “My first thought on the game is that I’m really proud of my team. We faced adversity. The first inning was not a good one, but none of them hung their heads in the dugout. They felt like they were going to find a way to get back in the game and win and they did. They had some really good at bats the whole game. It seemed like every time we hit one on the nose it was right at them. We kept our wits about us and low and behold had a big inning there in the eighth. That contribution is from a lot of different people and I am especially proud of them. Colby Lee has a great arm and it was his first time out there. He made some pitches there that we extremely important because the game could have gotten away from us. So I’m proud of Colby. Obviously Reed [Scott] was fantastic at the end. It’s a big win for us because, like I said, we faced adversity and didn’t look so good, but we found a way to win. It was an important win for us.”

South Carolina is back in action this weekend as they host Michigan State in a three-game series at Founders Park. The first game is scheduled for Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. It will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus. The game can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”