Conway grad Holmes hurls USC to sweep of Princeton

South Carolina’s Erik Payne went 2-for-3 with two RBI including his first career home run and six Gamecock pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts as No. 2-ranked South Carolina upended Princeton 3-1 to sweep a three-game college baseball series.

South Carolina improves to 13-1 on the year while Princeton’s record drops to 2-5 for the season.

South Carolina starter Colby Holmes hurled five scoreless innings with just four hits allowed to pick up the win. He is now 3-0 on the year. He struck out six and walked one. Freshman right-hander Evan Beal pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to earns his second save of the weekend and of the series. Princeton starter Matt Bowman allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings of work in the loss. He is now 1-1 for the season. He struck out two and walked two.

Payne gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run after crushing a 1-1 pitch from Bowman over the left field wall. It remained that way until the bottom of the fifth when the Gamecocks manufactured a run to increase the lead to 2-0. Kyle Martin led off with a double off the right field wall and after a sacrifice bunt by Sean Sullivan would score on Grayson Greiner’s RBI sacrifice fly to left field.

The Tigers responded in the sixth inning with a solo home run from Sam Mulroy, his first homer of the year. Mulroy jumped on a 1-0 pitch from Gamecock reliever Nolan Belcher to put the Tigers on the scoreboard with a homer to left field.

With a 2-1 lead, Carolina got an insurance run in the bottom half of the seventh. Kyle Martin led off with a single. Pinch runner Joey Pankake would be sacrificed over by Sullivan and after a walk to Grayson Greiner, the Gamecocks would take a two-run lead on Payne’s RBI double down the left field line.

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