Carolina defeats Duquesne Sunday Afternoon

Game two at Carolina Stadium bore only a passing resemblance to game one. Saturday featured lovely weather and a Gamecock romp. On Sunday, a bitter wind whipped around the ballpark and the outfield was briefly taken over by seagulls. Behind Jackie Bradley, Jr.'s first career home run, the Gamecocks had to gut out a closer than expected 8-4 win over Duquesne.

Game two at Carolina Stadium bore only a passing resemblance to game one. Saturday featured lovely weather and a Gamecock romp. On Sunday, a bitter wind whipped around the ballpark and the outfield was briefly taken over by seagulls. Behind Jackie Bradley, Jr.'s first career home run, the Gamecocks had to gut out a closer than expected 8-4 win over Duquesne.

"It was blustery out there; the wind was howling," said Ray Tanner. "It was a tough day to be a fan, much less catch a fly ball. There were a couple adventures out there today."

Early on, it appeared South Carolina was headed for another easy win. The Gamecocks led 4-0 after two innings thanks primarily to freshman Jackie Bradley, Jr. Bradley hit his first career home run in the second inning, a three run blast to right that bounced off the foul pole. With the wind pushing everything to right, Bradley's shot seemed almost certain to end up foul.

"I was just thinking, ‘I hope that wind don't push it foul,'" said Bradley. "I was just looking to swing hard, barrel it up."

Bradley finished the game with three hits, and is now 5-11 with four runs scored, and three RBIs this season.

"He's a guy that impressed from Day One," Tanner said. "He's a very level kid and he's a good player, but two games a season does not make."

Following the homer, Duquesne pitcher Ryan Juran settled in, and he held the Gamecocks bats in check. In six innings pitched, Juran gave up nine hits, five runs, walked two, struck out two, and hit one batter.

"Juran pitched a great game against us," said Tanner. "He mixed some hits and kept us from having too many big innings and gave his team a chance to come back, which they almost did."

Freshman pitcher Nolan Belcher made his first start on the mound for the Gamecocks and had mixed results. In four innings, he struck out four and only gave up two hits and one run, but he also walked four and hit three batters. He was pulled in the fourth inning when his pitch count topped his previously set limit of 80. He admitted after the game that he was a little nervous taking the mound for the first time, but he still expects to pitch better.

"It was definitely not a good outing today; I pitched terrible as far as my standards are concerned," said Belcher. "I walked a lot of guys and my control wasn't there, but I gave up one run so I guess that's a positive."

"He was a little rough around the edges, but I thought it was a positive outing because of his competitiveness," Tanner said. "He got himself into some jams and got himself out of some jams. He hit a few guys and walked a few too many, but he competed and he showed why he got an opportunity to pitch today."

Jordan Costner replaced Belcher, but did little better, giving up another run. Curtis Johnson finally came in and ended the Dukes' threat, but they had already narrowed the score to 4-2 after four innings. Johnson pitched well enough to pick up the win, giving up two runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Bobby Haney scored in the sixth to make it 5-2, but Duquesne scored two in the seventh off of three walks, a hit batter, and just one hit, a two RBI single.

With the fans getting nervous, Justin Dalles gave the Gamecocks some breathing room in the bottom of the seventh. DeAngelo Mack and Scott Wingo each drew a walk to set up Dalles, who smoked a pitch deep to left. It looked for a moment like a home run, but the wind knocked it down at the warning track for a double. Mack and Wingo both scored and Haney added another double to score Dalles and provide the final margin.



Notes:
- Paid attendance was 6,834. The actual attendance was 4,617.
- Casey Rihn got his first start at second base before being replaced in the sixth inning by Wingo. Brady Thomas started at catcher before Dalles took over in the sixth. The rest of the starters were the same as Saturday.
- Nick Ebert replaced Jeffrey Jones in the eighth inning.
- The series between Carolina and Duquesne concludes Monday at noon. Blake Cooper will take the mound for the Gamecocks.

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