Yardcocks Regain Focus in Win

Perhaps Gamecock Coach Ray Tanner said it best in a post game interview when describing the whirlwind of confusion that blasted the program late yesterday, "It was a sigh of relief when the first pitch was thrown. I was glad to be trapped between the lines again." The USC baseball team took out their collective frustrations on an outmatched UNC-Asheville team Tuesday night, winning 9-2.

The entire team seemed loose Tuesday evening as they took on a UNC-Ashville squad that was already ten games below .500 on the young season. When the dust settled the #2 team in the nation got back to what they do best. The Yardcocks went yard on several occasions. Justin Smoak started the offensive display early.

"I got a changeup out over the plate. Hit it pretty good."

With one run already in thanks to a Trent Kline single, Smoak hit the first pitch he saw deep into the left center field night. When the 4,185 in attendance stood to cheer it was as though bitter disappointment left over from the Chisenhall – Fuller era was driven out of the stadium with the ball.

The Cocks were equally as impressive from the mound. Overcoming wildness on the part of Sean Wideberg, the Cocks pitching staff mowed down 16 Bulldogs in total. Only the sixth inning passed without a strikeout.

Wideberg pitched 2.2 innings, walked five, and struck out five before giving way to Alex Farotto. Farotto's dominating performance locked down the Bulldogs threat and was, perhaps, the turning point of the game. The sophomore LHP from Greer dominated in 2.1 innings of work, giving up one hit, walking none and striking out five.

Tanner spoke highly of the team pitching performance, especially Farotto. "We could have left him out there one more inning but we're going to Mississippi State and they have a bushel of left handed hitters. We needed to save an inning so he might be available on Friday night."

In between Farotto strikeouts, the Gamecocks hit two more home runs accounting for three more runs. Jon Willard made it hard to miss the kid who patrolled right for the non-conference schedule, fouling off three pitches before drilling his third home run of the season to right center.

With two outs in the fifth inning, the Harley Sportster, Harley Lail's hot streak continued with his third long ball of the season – a two run shot to left.

With the Cocks now ahead 9-2, Tanner started the "these are some of our other pitchers who will help fill the void" clinic. The sweetest treat of the six different pitchers to toe the rubber was Forrest Beverly, who pitched one inning striking out two. Beverly's first appearance of the season after rehabbing from labrum surgery was filled with more than one ovation from the appreciative crowd.

The Cocks put forth a complete effort on the evening, dictating the tempo with as many offensive stars as there were pitching. Harley Lail added another RBI with a third inning single as he was one of four starters to have multiple hits. Andrew Crisp would not be upstaged by the power hitters as he added three singles, three runs and stole his second base of the season.

The lone bitter taste came from the bat of, or lack thereof, Phil Disher who went down on strikes in his first three plate appearances.

Tanner cited depth and a common goal when responding to questions about how the team will handle the recent turmoil, "There was nothing we could do about it. It was time to move on. There's no room for excuses. You gotta' win with the guys you got."

As for the Gamecocks from here on out, they have already moved on. Each one seemed comfortable relying on Tanner's "win with the guys you got" motto. Better yet, they all appeared "glad to be trapped between the lines again."

Upcoming

Wednesday night the Gamecocks will be at Wofford looking to avenge a 13 inning marathon loss from last season. They'll send Arik Hempy to the mound in his second start since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

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