Andrew Eyster was 3-for-5 and USC hit three homeruns as the Gamecocks defeated UNC-Greensboro 9-7 on Friday in front of an announced crowd of 7,427 for the season opener at Founders Park in Columbia. Michael Braswell and Matt Hogan joined Eyster with a homerun each, while Braswell also scored three runs. The win improved USC to 89-41 all-time in season openers
The game was not without drama as USC appeared to be cruising to an easy win on “Opening Day” behind pitchers Will Sanders and Noah Hall. However, the Spartans scored twice in the eighth inning and then tacked on four runs in the top of the ninth, bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs. However, Wesley Sweatt coaxed a ground ball off the bat of pinch hitter Mitchell Smith to end the game.
Sanders recorded the win for USC, allowing one run on three hits in five innings of work. The sophomore right-hander also struck out three without walking a batter, retiring the last seven Spartans he faced. Sweatt pitched to only one batter to record the save. Austin Koehn suffered the loss for UNCG, giving up five runs on seven hits in only two and two-thirds on the mound.
The two teams are set to meet again Saturday with first pitch set for 12:30pm at Founders Park.