A four-run sixth inning helped lead 17th-ranked South Carolina to an 8-1 victory over Albany to sweep a three-game series at Founders Park. The Gamecocks are 3-0 with Albany dropping to 0-3 on the year.
John Jones went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and finished the weekend 6-for-10 with nine RBIs. LT Tolbert added three hits with two runs scored, with Marcus Mooney reaching base in all four plate appearances and adding three runs scored.
Tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, South Carolina raced ahead with a four-run frame. With runners on the corners and one out, pinch hitter Gene Cone drove in Tolbert with an RBI fielder’s choice. After a double by Mooney put two runners in scoring position, a Danny Blaire infield single scored Cone. Jones added a two-run single to make it 5-1.
Carolina added three runs in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by cone and a two-run single by Dom Thompson-Williams.
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Junior right-hander Colie Bowers earned the win in relief with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Albany Joe Romero suffered the loss.
A pair of Gamecocks errors led to an Albany run in the top of the first inning. With two outs and Kyle Sacks on first base, Gamecock catcher Chris Cullen threw down to first base, but his throw sailed wide of Alex Destino and advanced Sacks into scoring position. Sacks scored on the next play as a throwing error by shortstop Marcus Mooney on a grounder allowed the first run to score.
John Jones tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth. The frame opened with Mooney drawing a leadoff walk. With two outs and Mooney on third base, Jones drove a single up the middle scoring Mooney, marking his seventh RBI of the series.
The four-run sixth inning gave the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish.
The Gamecocks did not allow an earned run and allowed just four runs the entire series against the Great Danes.
- The attendance was 7221.
- John Jones went 6-for-10 in the series and compiled a total of nine RBIs.
- Taylor Widener allowed just one unearned run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts in five innings of work in his first start of the year.
- South Carolina’s bullpen did not allow a run in 11 innings of work in the series and struck out 13 batters. The bullpen allowed just four singles and four walks.
- South Carolina hit .323 (31-for-96) for the weekend with a .446 on base percentage. Carolina committed just two errors and fielded .983 for the weekend.
Head coach Chad Holbrook: “It was a really good weekend for us. Other than what we did in the first inning today, I thought our kids played clean baseball. That first inning was not typical of us. We pride ourselves on playing conservative defense. We got a little out of character there, but we rebounded well and made some really nice plays, defensively, over the course of the weekend. I thought our pitchers were outstanding all weekend long. It was really great to see Taylor Widener throw the ball the way he did today, in his first start of the year. He had command of the strike zone and, he used all of his pitches very well. He has a power arm that can certainly help us. Tyler Johnson continued to be impressive in his second appearance. All in all, it was a good weekend for us. We battled and competed at the plate. I couldn’t be more pleased with my team and how we played.”
The Gamecocks will return to Founders Park on Tuesday for a matchup with Appalachian State. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network, including flagship station 107.5 FM “The Game.”
Clemson 19, Maine 2
Chase Pinder belted a three-run homer in the fourth inning and Seth Beer hit a grand slam in the fifth inning in Clemson’s win over Maine at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers, who won the series 2-1, improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Black Bears fell to 1-2.
The Tigers’ 22-hit performance saw every starter with at least one hit and 14 Tigers with a hit in all. Pinder went 2-for-3 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs, while Beer went 2-for-3 with his first career homer. Chris Williams and Weston Wilson added three hits apiece. Clemson’s four-run fourth inning and seven-run fifth inning put the game out of reach.
In his first career game, freshman lefthander Jake Higginbotham (1-0) earned the win by tossing five effective innings in a starting role. He yielded six hits, two runs and two walks with three strikeouts. Maine starter Jeff Gelinas (0-1) suffered the loss, as he gave up nine runs on 11 hits in four innings pitched.
The Tigers will return to action next weekend when they host James Madison in a three-game series starting at 4 p.m. Friday.
SOFTBALL USC Beaufort splits pair
The USCB softball team found itself on both ends of outstanding pitching performances at the Spring Break Softball tournament in Plant City, Fla. The Sand Sharks dropped a pitchers’ duel 2-1 to Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in their first game of the day but rebounded for a 7-0 victory over Edward Waters (Fla.) as senior Ashlie Layman threw her second no-hitter of the season.
Layman (4-2) struck out eight and walked three, and two Tigers reached on errors in the second game. It was the second career no-hitter for Layman, who threw a five-inning perfect game in the Sand Sharks’ season opener against Montreat on Feb. 6.
The Sand Sharks gave Layman plenty of support with their gloves and bats. They plated six runs in the first inning — half of them on Whitley Martin’s bases-loaded triple — and Martin added an RBI single in the third.
Martin was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and a run, while Taylor Boyett and Kayla Boyle each added two hits, and Bailey Craven, Emily Pauley and Missy Hughes drove in runs.
USCB also displayed strong pitching and defense against Martin Methodist, but the Sand Sharks couldn’t muster enough offense against the RedHawks. Brittany Bishop limited USCB to one unearned run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, and Ashton Edwards recorded the final four outs — getting out of two jams — for the save.
The Sand Sharks answered Martin Methodist’s first-inning run with an RBI single from Alexa Moore, but the RedHawks regained the lead in the fourth.
USCB threatened in the sixth but stranded two runners, and the Sand Sharks had runners at second and third with one out in the seventh before Edwards induced a pop-up and a groundout to end the game.
Abby Pac suffered the tough-luck loss, allowing two runs on six hits in a complete game. Haley Brown had two of USCB’s seven hits.
The Sand Sharks will be back on the road Friday and Saturday, playing four games in Hattiesburg, Miss. USCB will face LSU Alexandria at 1 p.m. and William Carey at 5 p.m. Friday, then play LSU Alexandria at 11 a.m. and Mobile (Ala.) at 1 p.m. Saturday.