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Analysis: Թϱ baseball defeats USC Upstate in high-scoring game

<p>FILE — Junior catcher Cole Messina frames a pitch during South Carolina’s game against Miami-Ohio on Feb. 18, 2024, at Founders Park. Messina recorded 10 total bases and two runs in South Carolina’s 14-8 victory over USC Upstate on March 19, 2024.</p>
FILE — Junior catcher Cole Messina frames a pitch during Թϱ’s game against Miami-Ohio on Feb. 18, 2024, at Founders Park. Messina recorded 10 total bases and two runs in Թϱ’s 14-8 victory over USC Upstate on March 19, 2024.

Թϱ’s baseball team won its midweek matchup against USC Upstate as the offenses exploded, totaling 22 runs in the Gamecocks' 14-8 victory

The Gamecocks were on the board first as junior catcher Cole Messina hit a first-inning home run to put Թϱ up early. 

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Its lead would not last long, however, as freshman pitcher Eddie Copper had trouble in the first inning. He allowed two runs off three hits and one walk. 

The Gamecocks took the lead right back in the second inning, as fifth-year second baseman Parker Noland singled to score senior first baseman Tyler Causey and sophomore shortstop Will Tippett. Both runners got on base via walks.  

Թϱ’s lineup then provided an offensive outburst in the fourth inning. It scored 9 runs on four hits, five walks and three errors by USC Upstate, improving its lead to 12-2. 

Copper’s day ended after only two innings, but the Gamecocks bullpen proved to hold the lead as it gave up 8 runs. 

Here are some key takeaways from the game as Թϱ now looks to No. 3 Vanderbilt this weekend. 

Lineup has very productive day at plate 

Messina’s home run and Noland’s two-RBI single got the offense going in the first two innings before the Gamecocks put up nine runs in the fourth inning. 

Junior outfielder Blake Jackson would start off the inning for the Gamecocks as he got hit by pitch. He would come around to score off a wild pitch. Messina then came back up and roped an RBI double to score Tippett. 

Junior outfielder Kennedy Jones batted third in the game and would come up to hit a two-RBI triple, scoring Noland and Messina. Sophomore outfielder Ethan Petry would hit a two-run home run to center field for his eighth long-ball of the season. 

Թϱ wasn’t done there. After a walk from fifth-year outfielder Dylan Brewer, Jackson brought him home after hitting a triple. Jackson scored on a wild pitch for the team’s final run of the inning. 

Jackson continued his big game, hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning to provide more insurance for the Gamecocks. 

Messina led the Gamecocks, ending the game with four hits. Noland, Petry and Jackson had two hits apiece. 

Bullpen takes care of business

After Copper was pulled after only two innings, the Gamecocks turned to its bullpen early to get it through the rest of the game. 

Թϱ turned to two freshman right-handers out of the bullpen first. Tyler Pitzer would be the first. He also pitched two innings and allowed zero hits and zero runs while striking out two.

Parker Marlatt was the next freshman for the Gamecocks, coming into only pitch the fifth inning. He didn’t give up any runs and got one strikeout. 

But junior pitcher Tyler Dean had some troubles on the mound for the Gamecocks in the sixth inning. He allowed three hits and allowed two more baserunners from a walk and error.  

That forced the Gamecocks to turn to fifth-year pitcher Ty Good to come in with the bases loaded. He hit his first batter, which brought in a run. His next two batters both tallied hits, bringing USC Upstate to 8 runs scored. 

Թϱ had to call to the bullpen again in the sixth inning, as this time junior pitcher Chris Veach came in and got two flyouts to finally get out of the inning. Veach went on to finish his night with 2.2 innings pitched, one hit gave up and three strikeouts. 

In the ninth inning, the Gamecocks would go to senior pitcher Garrett Gainey to close out the game. He did just that with a three-up-three-down inning, striking out two. 

Base-running aggressiveness leads to success

The Gamecocks proved to be very sharp on the base path, stealing four bases and didn’t get caught stealing once.  

The steals often led to errors from USC Upstate’s catcher on the throw downs to second, leading to more bases. 

Tippett contributed to two of these stolen bases while Jackson and Brewer got one apiece. 

What's next? 

Թϱ improves to 16-5 on the season and will take on the No. 3 Vanderbilt Commodores this weekend at Founders Park. Game one is on Friday at 7 p.m., game two is on Saturday at 4 p.m. and game three is on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. All games will be broadcast on SEC Network+. 


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