Gamecocks beat Upstate behind 'pen, 4-2

After hitting a minor speedbump Sunday in the form of a rare home loss, the Gamecocks got a chance to get rolling again on Tuesday night. It might've taken them awhile, but the offense did just enough after USC Upstate starter Gaither Bumgardner held them down with a tough effort early on. The Gamecocks also recovered from the loss of Colby Holmes to injury with excellent work out of the pen.

A liner up the middle was all it took to end a somewhat frustrating outing for Holmes, and force Jose Mata into emergency action for South Carolina. From there on out, it was the USC Upstate hitters that were frustrated as the Gamecock bullpen held them scoreless for the duration of the contest.

The USC bullpen was a lifesaver against the tough Spartan team that continued to hang around until the very end. After Holmes left the game, the pen was dominant firing six innings of scoreless baseball on the combined effort from Mata, Michael Roth, and Ethan Carter.

The Gamecocks fell behind early 1-0 in the third inning after going in order the first two. Colby Holmes, who was getting another midweek start, scuffled in the second facing the bottom of the Upstate lineup, allowing four straight baserunners to reach and giving up an RBI single before consecutive groundouts ended the damage.

The night came to an early end for Holmes after he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Austin Liput in the third inning. Holmes injured his hand on the play and will be x-rayed and re-evaluated by a doctor tomorrow.

After Mata came in and inherited two runners from Holmes a sacrifice fly gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead as the Gamecock bats continued to struggle. But Bumgardner's dominance would wane beginning the fourth.

The Gamecocks added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, before finally knocking Bumgardner out in the sixth. In the fourth, it was Jackie Bradley leading it off with a single before eventually coming in on Christian Walker's RBI groundout. In the fifth, Robert Beary was able to come in and tie it on a wild pitch with Whit Merrifield at the plate.

In the sixth the Gamecocks were finally able to move ahead of the Spartans as they added two runs on three hits in the innings. Bradley Jr. once again led it off with a single before moving up to third on a single by Evan Marzilli.

With a big situation facing him with runners on, Nick Ebert delivered with an RBI double to give the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish. USC completed the scoring for the evening with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Adrian Morales, and established a 4-2 margin that would stand until the end.

While USC's bullpen stood strong over the final few innings, the USC Upstate bullpen matched them pitch for pitch, not allowing another run after Bumgardner departed following Ebert's double in the sixth.

Matt Branham fired 1.2 scoreless innings in relief while Chris Knauff was able to work around a jam when he walked the bases loaded in the eighth.

Jackie Bradley Jr. helped lead a Gamecock attack that did just enough to pick up the midweek victory. The win moved the Gamecocks to 8-0 in midweek games on the season. He was 2-4 with two runs scored on the night.

Nick Ebert finished the game 2-3 with an RBI. Morales and Walker also contributed RBI's to finish out the Gamecock scoring.

The Gamecocks will head to Athens on Friday to begin a three-game SEC series with the Georgia Bulldogs. First pitch Friday night is schedule for 6:30.

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