Gamecocks Score Early, Often in 13-1 Rout

David and Goliath is a story that everyone remembers because the little guy won, and the little guy isn't supposed to win when he takes on a giant. South Carolina is a giant in college baseball who got slain by the little guy Wofford last year. The 2007 Yardcocks made sure history didn't repeat itself, scoring early and often enroute to a 13-1 shellacking of the Terriers.

2514 fans came to the campus of Wofford University in Spartanburg this night, the largest crowd in the history of Russell C. King Field. They came to see the two in-state schools battle, and see if the Terriers could pull the upset again. The crowd this night, however, was largely not in favor of such a result, as over 75% of those there were Gamecock fans who came to see their team play. They needn't have worried; the Carolina baseball team had learned its lesson.

Last year the Yardcocks let the Terriers hang around into extra innings until the Terriers pulled out a victory 9-8 in 13 innings. Last fall the Carolina football team also let their visitors from the upstate hang around and put a scare in them right up to the last minute of the game.

This time, Ray Tanner's club took away any question of an upset early, as the Gamecocks scored early and often. South Carolina scored once the first inning, twice in the second inning, once more each in the fourth and fifth innings, and twice more in the sixth before unleashing four runs in the seventh. And just for good measure, after Tanner had put his reserves in, they added two more runs in the eighth, for the final score of 13-1.

Robbie Grinestaff was the designated hero of the night, with a homerun in the first at-bat of his first game as a starter this season. He also had a double. Grinestaff was the Gamecocks' homerun leader in 2006, but had missed most of the 2007 campaign thus far after he suffered an injury to his hamstring five weeks ago. Though he has been put in as a pinch hitter a couple of games, he is just now returning to the lineup, and declared himself "90% recovered" from the injury after the game. "We discussed the potential for taking a redshirt and maybe coming back for next year, but Coach Tanner said that was a gray area and I might not get it (the redshirt classification) because it's a hamstring injury." Grinestaff said. "I made the decision to give it a go. I didn't know I was going to get the opportunity to start. It felt good to start. It was a good situation to see some live pitching again and start playing."

Tanner said of Grinestaff, "He's not 100%, but it would be nice for him to get hot at the right time."

James Darnell also hit a home run, as did reserve Adam Crisp. The three homers were part of a 14 hit barrage on the night by the Gamecock offense. Others who joined the hit parade were Justin Smoak with three hits, and two apiece from Reese Havens and each of the three home run hitters.

Grinestaff wasn't the only one returning from an injury and shining this night. Starting pitcher Arik Hempy went three scoreless innings and allowed just one hit with one walk while striking out three batters to pick up his first win of the season. Wednesday night's game was Hempy's second appearance and start of the season for the Gamecocks. His pitch count was intentionally limited to 50 pitches. Hempy combined with five other Gamecock pitchers to limit the Terriers to five hits on the evening.

"Everything was working well," Hempy said, "I squeaked out three innings with 50 pitches again. I'd like to add another mile or two an hour to my fastball." Hempy threw consistently between 88 and 91 mile an hour pitches on Wednesday.

Adam Crisp's two-run homer in the eighth inning was his first career home run in a Gamecock uniform. Six USC players had a homecoming of sorts, as they all played at Spartanburg Methodist Junior College before transferring to Carolina. Those players include Adam Crisp, Jordan Costner, Nick Godwin, Jeff Jeffords, Harley Lail and Drew Martin.

"We had three home runs and quality at-bats," Tanner said. "Our pitching staff has been doing super and they did it here on the road."

USC improved their season record to 19-3. Wofford dropped to 16-7. The Gamecocks leave home again tomorrow to make the long trek to Starkville, MS, to resume SEC action with a three-game series this weekend against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

All three games will be televised on Scout.com's sister media outlet, the Fox Sports South television channel. Friday's game is set for 7:35 ET, Saturday's game is at 4 pm ET and Sunday's series finale is scheduled for 2:30 pm ET.

Player of the Game: Robbie Grinestaff, who in 3 at-bats hit a home run and a double, and had two RBIs.

Notes: Pitcher Jay Brown returned from a trip to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham with good news: his MRI there proved negative, showing no sign of ligament damage. He is still suffering from swelling in the arm, and will undergo further tests at a local hospital on Monday. Doctors are trying to eliminate the possibility of his having a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which limits blood flow to the arm.

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