Gamecocks blow past Furman

South Carolina remains undefeated on the season with a 14-1 victory over Furman Tuesday night in the Gamecocks' (7-0) first mid-week contest of the season. Four pitchers held the Paladins to just one unearned run and five hits as Steven Neff earned the win in the predetermined split. USC batted around in a nine-run sixth inning.

Making his first start of the season, Neff was dominant for most of his four innings of work as he struck out a career-high seven batters including four in a row at one point. Neff surrendered just two hits, a walk and a hit batsmen.

"I like what I saw. I like the ability and the stuff that he brought. We met for awhile yesterday and we believe in him," head coach Ray Tanner said. "He's got a big-time arm and he's fighting his way back from surgery awhile back. He was really good before that, and we're hoping he can get back there. What I saw tonight was really good. He'd probably tell you he'd like to make a couple more pitches tonight. His stuff was good tonight, and he's going to get better as he goes. It was encouraging to see."

After scoring just one run in the first four innings off Furman starter Nate Smith (L, 0-2), South Carolina went to work on the Paladins bullpen. Six Furman relievers combined to give up 13 earned runs, 11 hits and 6 walks.

South Carolina busted open what was a well-played 2-1 game at the time in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. led off the inning with a double before Christian Walker belted his second home run of the season, a laser over the left field wall that gave the Gamecocks a 4-1 lead. Walker said he was looking fastball after the pitcher missed with an off-speed pitch to start the at-bat.

Back-to-back singles from Adrian Morales and Jake Williams set the table. Morales would eventually score on a passed ball. Peter Mooney, Bradley, Jr., Walker and Morales were all walked one after the other with the bases later in the inning as the Furman staff fell apart and the lead widened to 9-1.

Williams pushed the lead to 11-1 with a 2-RBI single to left. The transfer from Furman paced the Gamecocks at the plate going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs.

Walker added 4 RBIs as he, Bradley, Jr. and Scott Wingo had two hits a piece, and all but two starters had hits.

South Carolina added three more runs in the seventh inning off a Mooney single, Bradley, Jr. triple and Walker single.

"I'm very happy about our pitching staff tonight," Tanner said. "I though we were extremely competitive on the mound. Steven Neff had good stuff, Colby Holmes did a nice job, Forrest Koumas came in and then Matt Price finished it off. Probably what got lost in the game was the job Nate Smith did for Furman. He was on a limited stint because of some possible weekend duty. He did a nice job against us and kept us in check. We had the big inning that made the difference in the game."

After Neff's solid start, Colby Holmes pitched three innings giving up just an unearned run while striking out three batters. Forrest Koumas and Matt Price pitched a scoreless inning a piece to finish off the Paladins.

The Gamecocks will face Clemson Friday at Carolina Stadium at 7 p.m.

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