Cisco Shines In 11-2 Win Over Bears

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Gamecocks took to the diamond for the second game of a weekend series against the Brown Bears. The garnet and black clad crowd at Sarge Frye Field saw a repeat of the game one offensive fireworks, as Carolina again put double digit runs on the board, winning 11-2.



Mike Cisco picked up the win for the Gamecocks after pitching six scoreless innings. Cisco gave up just two hits and one walk to go with eight strikeouts. However, Cisco did hit two batters in the fourth inning, a fact he joked about after the game. "I don't think I've ever hit two people in a game," he said, "much less in an inning. So it was a little frustrating, but I overcame it and tried to get us back in the dugout as soon as possible."

Cisco used his curveball against the Bears, the first time he has used it extensively in game action. "We haven't really used [my curveball] a lot, but it was working in the bullpen, so we threw it in," he said. "Every game leading up to SEC [play] is a game to get better and work on your stuff. No matter who you're playing, you have to fine tune your stuff every outing. Baseball is a funny game: anybody can get hits off anybody. You can't take anything lightly."

Cisco's pitching gave the Gamecocks time to find their groove against Brown's pitcher, Columbia native Rob Wilcox. "We were a little slow getting it going today," Coach Ray Tanner said. "Cisco was pretty good for us, and he gave us a chance. He was able to hold them at bay. You pitch and play defense, and then you hope you get some runs. No doubt about it, Cisco keeps getting better."

In the fourth inning, Carolina finally broke the game open when they pushed three runs across the plate. Justin Smoak started the inning with a walk, continuing his fine play from the night before. The Brown pitchers, with Smoak's Friday night explosion fresh in their minds, gave the first baseman very little to hit. "He stayed away," Smoak said, adding that the Bears threw him "a bunch of changeups." Smoak stayed patient at the plate and was able to draw a pair of walks. When he did get a chance to hit, he made the most of his opportunities. Smoak's lone hit was a deep 3-run homer to right. "I was just trying to do the same thing as yesterday and be aggressive," he explained. "Today I got lucky enough and got into another one." For the game, Smoak went 1-3 with two walks and four RBIs.

Wynn Pelzer came in for the ninth inning to finish off the game, and he did it in style. Pelzer threw three strikeouts to put the Bears down in order. The outing was important for Pelzer, who has struggled this year. "He had good stuff," Tanner said. "The more he pitches the better he is going to get. We need to get him some work. He's got to be a guy for us, and we need to get him sharp as quick as we can."


Key Moment:

Trailing 9-2, Brown had the bases loaded in the 8th inning and a chance to make the game interesting. Jordan Costner came in for the struggling Nick Goodwin and threw one pitch. Matt Nuzzo flied out to right field, ending the threat. It was the only pitch Costner threw in the game.

Player of the Game:

Pitcher Mike Cisco won his second game of the year. He pitched six scoreless innings and notched 8 strikeouts. His pitching took pressure off the Gamecock bats when Carolina had a slow start offensively.

Notes:

- Brown pitcher Rob Wilcox, in addition to being from Columbia, has another tie to the Gamecocks. His father, also named Rob Wilcox, is a professor in the law school.

- Something unusual happened in the second inning: Brown's Dan Shapiro broke his aluminum bat. The tip of the bat bounced harmlessly back toward the mound, and Shapiro was thrown out.

- Pitcher Arik Hempy will pitch for the Gamecocks on Sunday. The start will mark his return from Tommy John surgery. Hempy will be limited to two or three innings of work. "I just want him to go out and be healthy and throw some pitches," said Tanner. "I'd like for him to be good, but I don't really care about that."

- Catcher Kyle Enders got his first career hit and first career RBI in the eighth inning. "He gives us another right hander on the bench," Tanner said. "He had a great fall for us."


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