Burgess’ big blast leads #Gamecocks past A&M, 9-4

Righthander Will Sanders picked up his seventh win after another quality start, Sunday (University of South Carolina Athletics)

South Carolina managed to salvage a game in their three-game series against Texas A&M in College Station, Tex., Sunday, thanks to Colin Burgess’ grand slam and bounce back performances from relievers Matthew Becker and Cade Austin. Four Gamecocks homers staked the staff to a seven-run lead, but after Saturday’s fiasco, no advantage would feel safe. This time, however, the trio of Will Sanders, Becker and Austin made the early lead stand up for a 9-4 victory.

Less than 24 hours removed from giving up eight runs over four innings as part of an epic collapse, Mark Kingston again called on the duo of Becker and Austin to protect a sizable lead. Kingston’s confidence was rewarded as Becker and Austin shut the Aggies out over the final three innings to gain a measure of revenge, and perhaps relief, before heading back to Columbia.

Designated hitter Josiah Sightler (3 for 5) opened the scoring, leading off the fourth inning with his 11th home run of the season. But Sightler’s solo shot to right was just the tip of the spear. Andrew Eyster reached on an error, Braylen Wimmer walked and Talmadge Lecroy singled to fill the bases and set the stage for Burgess. USC’s veteran backstop didn’t disappoint, turning Brad Rudis’ fastball around for a grand slam over the left field wall. Eyster and Wimmer later extended the lead to seven on back-to-back homers in the fifth, with Eyster’s blast clearing the scoreboard at Blue Bell Park.

Will Sanders (7-2) surrendered four runs (three earned) in six innings, holding the Aggies in check long enough and well enough to pick up the win. Sunday’s victory marks just the second conference road win for the Gamecocks (at Missouri, April 1).

USC (24-22, 10-14) returns to Founders Park, where the Gamecoks are 19-9, to square off with USC Upstate at 7 p.m., Tuesday.

Box Score

Talmadge Lecroy rapped out three singles as part of the Gamecocks attack, Sunday (Texas A&M Athletics)

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