Merrifield Slams USC Past Upstate 14-6

Whit Merrifield hit his first career grand slam and Andrew Crisp and Nick Ebert each drove in three runs as South Carolina defeated USC Upstate 14-6 on Tuesday evening up at Harley Park.

Carolina improves to 27-14 for the season while the loss drops the Spartans to 10-29 for the year. South Carolina returns home for a non-conference tilt with in-state rival Clemson, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. The game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com.

The Carolina offense came to the park on Tuesday night with a 16-hit total. Merrifield was 2-for-4 with five RBI that matched an individual season-high by a Gamecock player this season. Crisp was 3-for-5 with three RBI with Ebert, Kyle Enders, Bobby Haney and DeAngelo Mack tallying two hits apiece as well. The five RBI total was a career-high for Merrifield as well as he belted the Gamecocks' third grand slam of the year. Ebert also homered for his team-leading 14th of the season.

South Carolina starting pitcher Jay Brown tied a career-high with 6.2 innings of work. He allowed five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and four walks allowed. With the win, he improved to 3-0 for the season. USC Upstate starter Austin Moyer allowed four runs on three hits in three innings of work. He struck out three and walked two. He took the loss and is 2-5 on the year.

The Gamecocks broke ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning as Ebert delivered with a two-run homer to left centerfield. Ebert knocked a 3-2 pitch from Moyer to give Carolina the early lead.

USC Upstate tied the game in the second inning with a pair of runs against Brown. Blake Creen singled to lead off the frame and Ryan Wilkins doubled with one out to give the Spartans runners on second and third base. With two outs and runners still in scoring position, Kyle Simpson knocked a RBI single to left center scoring Creen and Wilkins and tying the game at 2-2.

South Carolina struck back quick though with two runs in the top of the third to go ahead 4-2. Carolina loaded the bases on a double by Bobby Haney, hit by pitch to Whit Merrifield and a walk to DeAngelo Mack. With two outs and the bags still full, Andrew Crisp laced a single up the middle to score both Haney and Merrifield.

Merrifield would do more damage for Carolina in the top of the fourth inning with a grand slam, his seventh home run of the year. Carolina loaded the bases on a base hit by Adam Matthews, a single by Kyle Enders and a walk to Bobby Haney. After fouling off several pitches and in a 3-2 count, Merrifield launch the homer to right field giving South Carolina and 8-2 advantage.

The Gamecocks reached double digits for the 11th time this year in a game with two more runs in the top of the fifth to increase the lead to 10-2. Jeffery Jones had a RBI double that scored Crisp with Jones eventually scoring on a RBI base hit by Enders.

USC Upstate put up a three spot in the bottom of the sixth inning with Jeff Medley recording a two-out two-run triple and Wilkins driving in a run with a single as the Spartans cut Carolina's lead to five runs.

After a pair of scoreless innings, the Gamecocks answered with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning as Ebert recorded a two-out RBI base hit to score Merrifield and Crisp also singled to left field to drive in his third run of the game.

Merrifield's fifth RBI came in the top of the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly. Jackie Bradley, Jr. also tallied a RBI single as Carolina scored its final two runs of the game. Upstate would add a run in the bottom of the ninth.

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