South Carolina swept both halves of a doubleheader with Bethune-Cookman on Saturday afternoon, 8-5 and 10-3, to improve to 16-1 on the season. The Gamecocks, which open SEC play next weekend at Georgia, host Presbyterian on Tuesday night at Founders Park.
Game #1: In a contest that featured more misplays than solid work in the field, USC took advantage of a season-high four Bethune-Cookman errors to clinch the series with an 8-5 victory. Those Wildcat miscues led to three unearned runs for the Gamecocks, who committed two errors themselves during the game.
USC struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on a double from Talmadge LeCroy and a Carson Hornung base hit to left centerfield. The home team extended its lead to 4-1 on a two-run single from Ethan Petry in the bottom of the third.
But after some good work at the plate got Bethune-Cookman to within 4-3 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats’ defense began to betray them. Carolina scored three runs in that decisive frame on just one base hit. Throwing errors at third, from short, and on the mound opened the door for USC to grab a 7-3 lead after five.
Noah Hall wasn’t sharp but did enough to earn his third win of the season. The senior right-hander issued a season-high five walks, while also striking out five in five innings of work. James Hicks pitched the final four innings to record his first save of the season. Nolan Santos (1-2) suffered the loss for Bethune-Cookman, allowing seven runs (four earned) in 4.1 IP.
Game #2: Caleb Denny’s second inning grand slam and Jack Mahoney’s nine strikeouts were more than enough for USC to secure a 10-3 victory over Bethune-Cookman in the back half of Saturday’s twin bill. Denny’s long ball was the third grand slam in two days for the Gamecocks and their 45th home run as a team, which leads the nation through Saturday’s games.
Denny wasn’t the only Gamecock that excelled on Saturday as Braylen Wimmer collected three hits while Talmadge LeCroy had a double and two RBIs.
On the mound, Mahoney improved to 2-0 on the season with a solid six innings of work against the Wildcats. He allowed two runs on seven hits with no walks. Mahoney’s nine K’s matched a season high that he set against UMass-Lowell during the opening weekend of the season. Daniel Gaviria took the loss, working four innings and giving up eight runs on five hits.