Freshman right-hander Adam Hill struck out 11 batters in his first career outing as 15th-ranked South Carolina defeated Appalachian State 5-0 on Tuesday afternoon at Founders Park.
Hill threw six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and no walks while striking out 11 batters. Josh Reagan followed with a scoreless inning and Colton Provey closed it out with two scoreless innings as Carolina tallied the first shutout of the season.
South Carolina opened up a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Jonah Bride was hit by a pitch, Gene Cone bunted for a base hit and DC Arendas walked to load the bases with no outs. Marcus Mooney then lifted a fly ball to left field that went off of Tyler Stroup’s glove to score a pair of runs.
USC increased its lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Alex Destino walked with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Bride’s RBI single up the middle.
Bride reached base for the third time with a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth inning. He scored on Mooney’s RBI single to left field. Clarke Scolamiero added another run with a sac fly to left field to score Cone to give the Gamecocks a 5-0 lead.
Cone went 3-for-4 with two runs and Bride was 1-for-2 with two runs. Mooney finished with two RBI.
The Gamecocks loaded the bases in the second inning and scored twice on the way to a 5-0 victory.
Hill, Reagan and Provey combined for 16 strikeouts and no walks.
Adam Hill’s 11 strikeouts are the most by a Gamecock since Jack Wynkoop struck out 12 last year versus Vanderbilt.
Gene Cone tied a career high with three hits. It marked the eighth time of his career with three hits in a game.
Head coach Chad Holbrook: “It was a good win for us. I thought the story of the game was obviously our pitching staff. Adam Hill was terrific in his debut at South Carolina. Ever since we came back from the holiday break, he’s been like that almost each and every time out. It’s been really fun to watch him grow and develop. We thought when we signed Adam that we were getting a kid with a bright future here, and I think now you can see why we thought that. He performed extremely well with 11 strikeouts in six innings and no walks. It was an incredible performance by him. (Josh) Reagan and Colton (Provey) closed it down and threw well behind Adam. We didn’t really swing the bats much today, but we did enough to win. Anytime you can win and some of your better hitters didn’t really scratch the surface, from a hit standpoint, I guess that’s a good sign. It was good to see Gene (Cone) get three hits in his first start of the year. Jonah [Bride] got a big hit there on a 3-0 count and drove a ball up the middle to get another RBI. All in all, it was a good day. We need to swing the bats better, but I thought we played good, clean defense. Our pitching was the story of the game.”
The Gamecocks will return to Founders Park on Wednesday for a matchup with Winthrop. 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.”