Gamecocks defeat Wofford 8-4

Former Wofford Terrier Jake Williams drove in four RBIs on three hits and Adrian Morales went 3-for-3 with a home run as South Carolina defeated the Terriers 8-4 Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium. Six Gamecock pitchers combined to give up four runs on five hits as sophomore Colby Holmes pitched a career high 5.1 innings while giving up just a hit, though he was charged with two earned runs.

"It was a good win for us tonight," head coach Ray Tanner said. "I was really pleased with our pitching, especially being able to stretch Colby out. He's been waiting to get some innings and he did a nice job for us. We gave (Steven) Neff a little bit of work; we will bounce him back this weekend. And Colby made a statement about getting some future innings. They put us in the position to win the game. We got a few more hits than we have been getting lately."

Holmes came in to replace Neff who started the game but pitched just one perfect inning as part of a pre-determined split. Holmes didn't give up a hit until the Gamecocks' no-hit bid was broken up when Konstantine Diamaduras led off the seventh inning with a single to left center. Holmes struck out four and walked three batters.

"I knew I was going to get to pitch so i came out and had my fastball working, my slider was good, my curveball wasn't too great in the first couple of innings but I found it in the last couple," Holmes said. "I was pounding the zone throwing strikes."

Facing his former team for the first time, Williams went 3-for-5 including two singles and a triple. The four RBIs tie a career high. Williams is now hitting .385 on the season with 12 RBIs.

"It was interesting playing my old team," Williams said. "I still have a lot of good friends on that team. And having the game that I had, it was a great feeling. I didn't know quite how it would go but it went real well."

Morales reached base all five times he was at the plate as he homered, singled, doubled, was walked and was hit-by-pitch.

"Morales really had a tremendous plate approach," Tanner said. "He'll fight you. He'll give your team a chance to try to get a run home."

Coming off a 4-2 loss in which Furman held Carolina to just six hits, the Gamecocks' bats got going again as seven of the nine starters combined for 13 hits. Adam Matthews and Scott Wingo contributed two hits apiece.

Tanner says the team went over a statistical analysis that showed some of the players struggling were letting themselves get into bad counts.

While the players in the Gamecocks' line-up remained mostly the same, Tanner moved some of his players with high batting averages up in the order as Matthews led off, Jackie Bradley, Jr. moved into the two-hole with Christian Walker next, and Morales and Williams after them.

"Just trying to get our best guys more at-bats," Tanner said of the tinkering. "You want to get those guys as many at-bats as you can. Last night [in the loss to Furman] the game ended and Jackie was on deck. You'd like to have gotten him back up there one time. So that's the reason I did that."

South Carolina got on the board first in the 2nd inning when Morales led off the frame with a towering home run off a high fastball that landed a few rows up in the left field seats. It was Morales' second home run of the season.

Carolina struck for another run in the second when Wingo, who got on with a single to right, scored on a wild pitch.

The Gamecocks extended their lead in the fifth when Williams went to work on his old team. After Walker walked to lead off the inning and Morales singled, Williams crushed one into the gap in left center scoring both runners and giving him his team-leading third triple of the season.

Carolina tacked on three more runs in the next inning after a two-out error on the shortstop allowed Wingo to score and Walker to reach base, which extended the inning. Morales then doubled off the left field wall narrowly missing his second home run by mere feet. That put runners at second and third for Williams who dropped one into right field for his third and fourth RBIs of the game, which put USC up 7-0.

Wofford struck back in the top of the seventh when the Terriers led off the inning with their first hit of the game. After two walks in a row, Holmes was pulled in favor of Bryan Harper with the bases loaded. Harper got one out but gave up a two-out, two-RBI single to cut the lead to 7-2.

A Bradley, Jr. sacrifice fly put Carolina up 8-2 before Wofford struck for two more in the eighth. Harper gave way to Forrest Koumas with one out and runners on second and third. Koumas walked a batter and struck one out before giving up a two-RBI single.

Logan Munson got the final out of the inning before Matt Price came in and finished the Terriers off in the ninth.'

South Carolina improved to 12-3 on the season while Wofford drops to 11-6 as the Gamecocks prepare to start SEC play this Friday against Georgia at Carolina Stadium.

"It was nice to see the bats were going," Morales said. "It was nice to see we got 13 hits, I think it was. It was pretty good to get the bats going, going into facing Georgia this weekend."

Game-one of the three-game series is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. with Michael Roth getting the start for the Gamecocks.

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