Gamecocks blast past Rhode Island

One day after breaking a Carolina Stadium record for runs scored in a game, South Carolina made a valiant effort towards that record again putting up 17 runs in a 17-8 victory over Rhode Island. The Gamecocks put up another 19 hits to win the first two games of the week by a combined scored of 41-12. USC travels to Gainesville to take on No. 1 Florida this weekend in a key three-game series.

Catcher Robert Beary went 4-for-6 with a home run and four RBIs, but this was another overall team effort at the plate as the Gamecocks tagged Rams pitching inning after inning. And for the second straight night every Carolina starting position player got a hit.

"I was extremely happy with what we have been able to do offensively early in the game the last four, five, six games," head coach Ray Tanner said. "We have had some quality at-bats whether guys got hits, walks, or went deep in the count, that is the kind of thing we were looking for early on in the season but we weren't really getting that. But, we have had better at-bats and gotten better positions to win games."

Jackie Bradley, Jr. homered for the second straight night and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. His first inning blast to right center made him the 24th player in Carolina history with 200 career hits. Adrian Morales went 3-for-4 and also homered.

Peter Mooney, Christian Walker, Evan Marzilli and Scott Wingo also added two hits apiece.

Much like the night before against College of Charleston, South Carolina jumped all over Rams starter Brian Bodjiak from the onset as he failed to record an out and was pulled after facing just five hitters. The first seven Gamecock batters reached base as Carolina took a commanding early 6-0 lead.

Carolina added four more runs in the second inning, three in the third and two more in both the fifth and sixth.

After using just two pitchers Tuesday, the Gamecocks threw seven arms against the Rams.

Starter Adam Westmoreland gave up just a hit in the first but couldn't record an out in the second inning when he walked two batters and gave up two singles.

Jose Mata returned to his inning-eating role of last season in relief of Westmoreland, and saved Tanner and crew from having to exhaust many of his arms for this weekend's big SEC match-up.

Mata pitched four innings and gave up just an earned run and two hits.

"I pounded the zone," Mata said. "I didn't know how long I would be out there, obviously. I just tried to stay ahead as much as possible and eat as many innings."

With the effort, Mata picked up his second win of the season. The Gamecocks pieced the rest of the game together with short stints from Bryan Harper, Tyler Webb, Logan Munson, Will Casey and Alex Burrell.

"I was happy certainly with [Mata]. ... He didn't field his position very well," Tanner said poking fun at the two errors Mata made. "But he pitched pretty good and we continued to score some runs. But it was important for us to win this week."

And the Gamecocks did just that in a situation that easily could have set-up as an opportunity for an upset.

With the win, Carolina moves to 16-4 on the season and can officially turn its attention to Florida.

"Hitting is all about confidence," Beary said. "If you don't have it, you may not hit well. It shows the last two games that our guys are starting to come through. It's positive and we are going to go in with a little more confidence than Florida. There will be two teams going at it and it's the one that makes the least amount of mistakes and keeps fighting for nine innings."

First pitch for game-one of the three-game series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Gainesville with Michael Roth getting the start for Carolina.

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