USC bounces back with 10-0 win over Furman
South Carolina pitcher Jay Brown sat in the dugout at Joe Riley Stadium on Tuesday and watched The Citadel batters take advantage of the Gamecock pitching staff in a 12-5 win for the Bulldogs.
Just prior to Wednesday's game against Furman, Brown and the rest of the Carolina pitching staff huddled up and decided enough was enough and it was time to go after the batters rather than play it careful.
That philosophy seemed to work well for Brown and two relievers, as the three arms combined to hold Furman scoreless and USC (19-8) bounced back with a 10-0 win.
"We talked as a pitching staff today and really focused on attacking the hitters, going after them and the game plan worked out. (Catcher Justin) Dalles did a great job behind the plate, the coaches called a great game and the defense worked," Brown said. "The score wasn't indicative of the game. They played us tough."
In 6.2 innings of work, Brown gave up just four hits and struck out a season-high five batters as he improved to 2-0 on the year. Relievers Adam Westmoreland and Michael Roth finished off the Paladins (10-13), as the three arms combined to give up six hits while striking out eight.
Carolina got run support early in the game as Andrew Crisp led off the second inning with a double and came home two batters later with a Dalles double to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. USC padded the lead with a Jackie Bradley, Jr. solo home run to start the third. For the true freshman it was his second home run of the season against the Paladins, making him the only player to accomplish that feat in both games.
"I'm just seeing it real well. Just looking to the ball where it's pitched. I don't think it's anything about Furman," Bradley said.
The next two runs came in the third as shortstop Bobby Haney singled in Parker Bangs and Scott Wingo crossed home plate on a balk by Stephen Gary to put Carolina up 4-0.
Wingo and Haney, who have been in the eight and nine holes all season, finished with three hits in six at-bats and a run each while Haney notched a season high three RBI.
That performance from the bottom of the order was not only pleasing to coach Ray Tanner but to the hitters as well.
"They've played great defense all year, but we haven't gotten a lot of offense from them. They've been frustrated with that," Tanner said. "The only thing you can do is keep swinging it, try to get in some hitter's counts."
Carolina put extra distance between them and the Paladins in the eighth as the bats exploded for six runs. Bangs' leadoff double started things off, and after a Dalles single and Wingo hit-by-pitch, Haney started the onslaught with a two RBI double. Whit Merrifield followed suit two batters later with another two RBI double, and Mack closed out the scoring with two more RBI on another double to give USC the double digit margin, making it the sixth time this season the Gamecocks have scored double digits.
While the loss to The Citadel on Tuesday was unexpected, Tanner emphasized his team's mental toughness as they prepare to play host to Arkansas this weekend and hit the mid-way point of the season with Friday's upcoming game.
"You have to get back on the horse in this game. Good and bad, you have to take it all in stride," Tanner said. "I tell them all the time there's just a few steps from outhouse and penthouse so you better be able to handle it."
- Andrew Crisp's second inning single gives him 215 career hits, tying him for the 14th most all-time in Gamecock history.
- Jackie Bradley, Jr. is currently on an 11 game hit streak, while DeAngelo Mack is riding a nine game hitting streak.
- In the two games between USC and Furman this season, the Gamecocks have hit 15 doubles.
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