Carolina crushes Charleston Southern 11-1

Starting pitching Patrick Sullivan pitched six innings and allowed just an earned run as fourth-ranked South Carolina used a six-run second inning and four-run fifth to defeat Charleston Southern 11-1 Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina improves to 39-10 on the season.

Making his second career start, Sullivan gave up a two-out RBI single in the first inning but didn't give up another run in his career-high six innings of work. He gave up six hits, struck out a career-high six batters and walked a batter as he earned the win (2-0).

"Definitely the best command I've had all season," Sullivan said. "That's one thing I was trying to do is start to limit the walks. I was able to get my fastball in tonight and [had] probably the best curveball I've had all season. Slider wasn't as good as it's been but I was able to mix three pitches tonight and keep hitters off balance."

The Carolina hitters gave Sullivan all the run support he needed with 11 runs on 11 hits in the ninth time this season the Gamecocks scored ten or more runs.

Shortstop Peter Mooney led the way with the first three-RBI game of his Carolina career on 2-for-5 hitting while Brady Thomas went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Adrian Morales added two hits while Evan Marzilli added two RBIs.

Charleston Southern starter Levi Mauldin exited the game in the midst of the Gamecocks second-inning onslaught. He was charged with five earned runs and picked up the loss.

After Jake Williams led off the second with a walk, Adrian Morales doubled to left field. With runners on second and third, Marzilli singled up the middle just off the second baseman's glove to score both runners and put Carolina up 2-1.

Later in the inning, Mooney doubled to right to bring in Marzilli and make it 3-1. That spelled the end for Mauldin.

Things didn't go much better for reliever Corey Deighan whose passed ball scored DeSean Anderson and wild pitch scored Mooney. A Thomas single to right put the Gamecocks up 6-1.

Charleston Southern loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on a walk and back-to-back singles to the left side. But Sullivan responded with back-to-back strikeouts and induced a fielder's choice to second baseman Scott Wingo that he fielded and tossed to Mooney at second to end the inning.

"It showed me a lot," Tanner said. "That's not an easy thing to do regardless of who you are. ... He made some pitches -- really good pitches. ... He got out of that inning -- that was impressive.

"And his composure, his poise was very, very good. As a coach when you're sitting over on the side and there's base-runners everywhere, that's not a good feeling. But when your pitcher shows you he has poise and composure, you stay with him."

Carolina added four more in the fifth when Morales singled and Marzilli was hit-by-pitch to start the inning. After a Robert Beary sacrifice bunt and Anderson walk, Mooney doubled to bring home two runs.

After a strikeout, Walker singled to left field to score two more.

The Gamecocks added a final run on a Thomas double in the eighth.

Former weekend starter Colby Holmes relieved Sullivan to start the seventh and pitched 1.2 innings of perfect ball. Jose Mata came in and walked his only two batters, but Will Casey pitched a scoreless inning and Bryan Harper came in to record the final out of the game.

"Five games is tough in this day and age of college baseball," Tanner said. "Coming off a weekend roadtrip, it worked out great for us, we were home, we played pretty well and got good pitching."

South Carolina improves to 39-10 on the season while Charleston Southern falls to 25-24.

South Carolina is next in action Friday when it hosts Arkansas for game-one of the final three-game SEC series of the year at Carolina Stadium. Michael Roth will get the start on the mound with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

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