Tanner gets win No. 1,100 as Gamecocks top Paladins

Joey Pankake went 5-for-6 with a pair of RBI and Evan Marzilli added four hits including a three-run homer as sixth ranked South Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-5 win over Furman on Tuesday night at Fluor Field in Greenville.

The win marked head coach Ray Tanner’s 1,100th career win in his 25th year as a head coach in Division I baseball. South Carolina improves to 16-4 while Furman drops to 11-11 for the year. The Gamecocks return home to Carolina Stadium on Wednesday, Mar. 21 vs. Wofford with first pitch at 7 p.m.

Marzilli and Pankake, the top two hitters in the Carolina lineup were a combined 9-for-11 with five runs scored and five RBI. TJ Costen and Tanner English were each 2-for-5 with a run scored as well. The Gamecocks tied a season-high with 16 hits in the victory.

With a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, the Gamecocks broke open the game on a Marzilli’s three-run blast. TJ Costen and Tanner English showed off their speed to set the table for Marzilli as each executed bunts for base hits. That set the stage for Marzilli, who blasted his first homer of the year over the right field wall on a 3-2 pitch from Daniel Stallsmith that gave the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.

South Carolina held a 6-2 lead but Furman threatened in the bottom half of the sixth loading the bases with two outs. Junior left-hander Tyler Webb and Furman pinch hitter Harrison Farmer had a heck of a battle then with Farmer fouling off pitch after pitch. On the 13th pitch of the at bat, Webb got Farmer to fly out to right field ending the threat and keeping the Gamecocks ahead by four runs. The Gamecocks tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh inning on Pankake’s fifth hit, a two-out RBI base hit up the middle. Pankake was the first Gamecock since Christian Walker on April 5, 2011 vs. USC Upstate to record five hits in a game.

Furman scored three more runs in the seventh inning to cut the Gamecock lead to three runs on the back of a three-run homer by Will Miller, his sixth home run of the season. The Gamecock relief corps however kept the Paladins in check the rest of the way to clinch the victory. Right-hander Forrest Koumas had 1.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Evan Beal worked a perfect ninth inning and struck out the side for his fourth save of the season.

Junior right-hander Hunter Privette earned the win in relief with one scoreless inning of work. He is 1-0 on the year. Furman starter Tyler Wood suffered the loss and is 3-2 for the season. He allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings with four walks and two strikeouts.

Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Marzilli singled to open the game and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit and run with Joey Pankake. Marzilli would then score on a wild pitch issued by Wood. Carolina increased the lead to 2-0 in the third inning as Marzilli led off again with a single and after a wild pitch advanced to third on Pankake’s second base hit of the night. Christian Walker would drive in Marzilli with sacrifice fly to right field. Furman tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Taylor Johnson.

South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery was effective in 4.2 innings of work. The freshman left-hander allowed just two runs on five hits with one walk and a career-high eight strikeouts. Six South Carolina pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts in the win.

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