No. 6 Gamecocks slip past Chants to snap hot streak

uscbase-ccuCoastal Carolina had its seven-game win streak snapped as sixth-ranked South Carolina held on for a 4-2 victory Tuesday evening at Founders Park.

The 20th-ranked Chanticleers fall to 20-10, but have still won 13 of their last 16. The Gamecocks improve to 25-5.

The Gamecocks took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, LT Tolbert singled and John Jones walked. Dom Thompson-Williams lined an RBI double to left center field. Jonah Bride brought home Jones with an RBI ground out.

In the fourth inning, Bride drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a single from DC Arendas. CCU turned to Austin Kitchen out of the bullpen. The freshman got TJ Hopkins to fly out. However, the ball was deep enough to score Bride for a 3-0 lead.

Coastal got on the scoreboard in the fifth. Connor Owings (2-for-3 with a walk) extended his hit streak to nine games with a leadoff single. He moved to second on a ground out and scored when Billy Cooke reached on a USC throwing error.

The Chants added a run in the sixth to make the score 3-2, but the inning could have been bigger had it not been for a great defensive play. Anthony Marks walked to start the frame. Michael Paez then lined a ball down the third base line only to have USC’s Bride make a diving play and throw out Paez. G.K. Young (2-for-4) followed with a single to left center to put runners on the corners.  Then with two outs and facing a 1-2 count, Owings poked a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield to drive in Marks.

South Carolina regained a two-run lead, 4-2, in the seventh. Marcus Mooney and Gene Cone had back-to-back one-out singles. A ground out moved the runners up to third and second, respectively. Mooney scored on a wild pitch, before Jones grounded out to end the inning.

Josh Reagan worked the final two innings to earn his eighth save of the season. The lefty entered the game with a 0.38 ERA in 15 appearances. Gamecock starter Taylor Widener (1-1) earned the win as he allowed two hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings.

Zack Hopeck (1-2) was the tough-luck loser for the second time in four starts. As he did in a 4-2 loss at the College of Charleston, allowed two runs in the first inning before setting in to pitch well the rest of his outing. Overall, he allowed four hits and three runs with two walks and two strikeouts. Freshman Austin Kitchen allowed two hits and one run in 3.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Mike Morrison extended his streak to 23.2 innings without allowing a run and he scattered two hits over 1.1 scoreless innings.

Coastal Carolina will stay on the road for a three-game series at Radford this weekend. First pitch Friday is set for 6 pm.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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