Three years of embarrassment for USC against North Carolina at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte were wiped away Tuesday night with some excellent pitching, solid defense and a touch of power offense. The Gamecocks defeated the Tar Heels 5-2, their first win in the four years of the series in the Queen City. The Tar Heels won the first three by a combined score of 46-8.
Five Gamecock hurlers allowed just four hits and struck out 13. Daniel Lloyd started and pitched two scoreless innings. Dylan Harley followed and set down the first nine batters he faced before yielding a two run homer in the sixth for the Tar Heels’ only runs. Harley, who earned the victory, struck out six of the 12 batters he faced.
Gage Hinson, John Gilreath and Brett Kerry pitched the final 3.2 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out six. Kerry earned his fourth save.
TJ Hopkins had two hits and two RBIs, including his 9th homer of the season that gave USC some insurance after the Tar Heels had cut the lead to 4-2. Hopkins also had an RBI single in the third for a 2-0 lead. Brady Allen opened the scoring for the Gamecocks in the second with an RBI double. A sacrifice fly by Quenntin Perez in the fourth accounted for the other USC run.
Defensively the Gamecocks played error free ball, picked off one Tar Heel baserunner and caught another attempting to steal, and flashed some leather on a couple of tough plays.
All in all, it was a complete game performance for the Gamecocks who improve to 22-15. The open a three game SEC series Thursday night at home against Texas A&M.
Mark Kingston postgame press conference
Dylan Harley on his strong outing
T J Hopkins reflects on his homer in the 7th