Fifteenth-ranked South Carolina jumped out to a six-run lead in the first inning and never looked back Wednesday, racking up 16 hits in a 16-4 drubbing over Winthrop at Founders Park.
After scoring on a fielder’s choice, a balk, and a two-out single, the Gamecocks took a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after freshman outfielder T.J. Hopkins hit a three-run home run, his first career round-tripper. South Carolina added two runs in the second inning, three in the sixth, and five more in the seventh for the easy win.
Eight of South Carolina’s starters scored at least one run and five players had multi-hit games in the lopsided win. First baseman Alex Destino finished the game 3-for-4 with a career-high four RBI.
Sophomore Tyler Haswell earned his first career win with three scoreless relief innings. Haswell allowed one unearned run on two hits and recorded a strikeout. Sophomore starter Canaan Cropper tallied a career-high eight strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Gamecocks moved to 5-0 after the win, while Winthrop — who beat South Carolina 7-5 last season — fell to 4-1. South Carolina hosts Penn State for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon.
The Gamecocks scored six runs in the first inning on the way to a 16-4 win.
Eight of nine Gamecock starters scored at least one run.
It was the first game of the season that the Gamecocks have scored in the first inning.
Right-hander Canaan Cropper recorded a new career high with eight strikeouts and career high longest outing with 3 2/3 innings pitched in his first start of the season.
Alex Destino tied career-high with four RBI, it marked the fourth time he has reached that mark.
The 16 runs is a season high for Carolina and tied the fifth-highest in the Chad Holbrook era.
Five Gamecocks finished with multi-hit games. Destino went 3-for-4 with Thompson-Williams, Jones, Tolbert and Hopkins with two hits apiece also.
Destino and Hopkins both had four RBIs for the afternoon. Tolbert drove in three runs with Chris Cullen adding two RBI as well.
Head coach Chad Holbrook: “It was a good win for us. We told the guys after the game that the win will hopefully mean something later in the year from a RPI standpoint. Winthrop won 40 games a year ago, got a lot of guys back and I think were picked to finish pretty high in the Big South. It was a good game to win. We performed well. We got off to a good start in the first. I’m really proud of Canaan Cropper. Those weren’t easy conditions to pitch in. He and Tyler Haswell pitched outstanding. I was happy to see Vince (Fiori) and Matt Vogel do well too. Tyler (Johnson) and Brandon (Murray) were a little bit rusty but they’ll be fine. We just needed to get them out there and get some work done. Those were hard conditions to play in, especially pitching and fielding. We made a couple of errors, but all in all it was certainly nice to see some of our guys perform at a high level. It’s great to get a win over a very good Winthrop team.”
The Gamecocks host Penn State for a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon. First pitch on Friday 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.”