Holmes returns to mound to lead Gamecocks past Bucs

No. 11 South Carolina tallied 12 hits including a pair of homers from TJ Costen and LB Dantzler as the Gamecocks defeated Charleston Southern 9-5 on Tuesday night in non-conference action at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina improves to 23-6 while the loss drops Charleston Southern to 11-17.

Senior right-hander Colby Holmes earned the win in a predetermined split and improves to 3-2 on the season. He pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and struck out two batters. Three other Gamecock pitchers combined for the remaining 5.2 innings including Vince Fiori who worked 3.2 innings allowing just one run and striking out four. Charleston Southern starting pitcher Stephen Leopard suffered the loss and is now 1-2 on the year.

The Gamecocks broke ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Connor Bright led off with a single to center field and Max Schrock singled as well to put runners on the corners. Bright scored the first run for the Garnet and Black on a RBI single off the bat of Grayson Greiner. DC Arendas sacrificed the runners into scoring position with a bunt down the third base line and TJ Costen would then load the bases after drawing a one-out walk. A wild pitch from would bring home Schrock and advance the runners. Greiner would score on an RBI single by Graham Saiko and Chase Vergason would drive in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left field.

The Buccaneers cut the Gamecocks lead in half scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Bobby Ison singled and would score Zack Hagaman’s RBI single. Brian Welch would then single and bring home Hagaman leaving the Gamecocks with a 4-2 lead.

Costen answered with his first homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth. After Arendas drew a leadoff walk, Costen crushed a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left-center to give the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead.

Charleston Southern responded with two runs in the top of the fifth to cut the Carolina lead back to two runs. Chase Shelton drew a walk to open the frame and Drew Woodall put down a bunt for a base hit. Ison would bring home Shelton with a RBI single and Alex Tomasovich registered the first extra base hit of the game with a double that drove in Woodall.

The Gamecocks tallied two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to go ahead 8-4. Schrock recorded his second triple of the season to start the inning, sending a 2-2 pitch to right-center field, just shy of falling into the bullpen. Schrock would score on a RBI single by Greiner who knocked a ball over the head of Charleston Southern third baseman, Jaren Suster. Greiner would then steal second, advance to third after Costen and Vergason both walked, and score on a wild pitch.

LB Dantzler increased the lead to 9-4 in bottom of the eighth inning as he launched a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left field for his team-leading 10th home run of the season. Woodall homered in the top of the ninth inning for the final run of the game for CSU.

Schrock went 3-for-5 tying a career-high for hits in a game and scored two runs. Saiko was 2-for-4 and recorded his first double and extra base hit of the season. Greiner drove in two runs as did Costen.

South Carolina is back in action Wednesday night against Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

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