South Carolina played its first games outside of the Palmetto State as the Gamecocks ventured into conference play with a doubleheader in Athens, Ga., Saturday. USC (19-1, 2-0) made itself right at home at Georgia’s Foley Field, taking Game 1 in dramatic fashion before dismantling the Bulldogs in Game 2 to sweep the twin bill and equal the program’s best start to a season since 2004.
Game 1: South Carolina’s first SEC game of the season went down to the wire as the clubs exchanged the lead before pinch-hitter Michael Braswell put an end to the drama with a two-run double in the top of the ninth, lifting the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win.
Cole Messina and Ethan Petry each homered to give USC an early advantage, but Georgia answered with two home runs and a sacrifice fly to take a 4-3 lead into the final frame.
Talmadge LeCroy was hit by a pitch leading off the ninth and moved into scoring position on a bunt from Caleb Denny. Will McGillis walked, joining LeCroy on the basepaths and setting the stage for Braswell. Braswell drove a 1-2 breaking ball down the right field line, plating LeCroy and Denny to silence the crowd and give USC the lead. James Hicks (0.98 ERA) slammed the door in the ninth to pick up his second save.
Game 1 Box Score
Game 2: Following the first game’s dramatic finish, the Gamecocks wasted no time in taking control in the second game, rolling the ‘Dawgs 12-2 in seven innings. Freshman Ethan Petry (.471) drove in five runs and hit two homers in the game, giving him five hits, six RBIs and three home runs on the day. Braylen Wimmer added three RBIs.
Noah Hall (4-0) starred on the mound, giving the bullpen a chance to rest by throwing all seven innings and striking out five.
Georgia and South Carolina wrap the series at 3 p.m., Sunday.