Trailing 6-1 going into the top of the fifth inning, USC needed a spark in its matchup with Appalachian State on Tuesday. Enter, Andrew Eyster. The Ocala, Florida native stroked a two-run double to highlight a five-run fifth inning that leveled the game at six before USC pulled away for a 9-6 victory at Truist Field in Charlotte, NC. Braylen Wimmer also had a two-run single in that critical frame that helped the Gamecocks avoid a major stumble heading into this weekend’s three-game series with instate rival Clemson.
The night started off much better for the Mountaineers than it ended. After setting the Gamecocks down in order in the first, App State loaded the bases on three walks against USC starting pitcher CJ Weins. With two outs, left fielder Hunter Bryson blasted a grand slam to give the home standing Mountaineers a 4-0 lead heading to the second inning. Weins worked three innings in his first start of the season, allowing five runs on just two hits with five strikeouts and the three first inning walks.
Appalachian (3-5) tacked on single runs in the third and fourth innings before USC began its comeback, triggered by Eyster. Now batting .514 on the season, the Gamecock slugger got USC (7-1) on the board with his first double of the night to score Wimmer, cutting the Mountaineers’ lead to 5-1, while recording his 100th career RBI in the process. Then, after knotting the game at six in the fifth, the Gamecocks pulled away with two runs in the seventh and a single run in the eighth inning.
Michael Braswell pitched a scoreless ninth to record the save, while John Gilreath picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits in two and two-thirds innings. Redshirt junior Eli Ellington suffered the loss, giving up four runs on two hits in two and two-thirds innings for the Mountaineers.
USC and Clemson will begin their weekend series on Friday at Founders Park in Columbia. First pitch is set for 7pm. Game two will be Saturday (4pm) at Segra Park in Columbia, before the series shifts to the Upstate for the finale in Clemson on Sunday at 3pm on the ACC Network.