Story from USC Sports Information:
South Carolina pitchers Jimmy Revan, Matt Price and Parker Bangs combined to strike out 18 batters to tie a school single-game record and Whit Merrifield tallied a base hit to set a school record for consecutive games with a hit, now at 26, as the Gamecocks earned a 7-3 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina is now 8-4 on the year while the loss drops Valpo to 3-11 for the season. The Gamecocks will be back in action this weekend beginning a three-game series vs. Brown with first pitch for the opener set for 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Carolina pitching staff was in command for most the afternoon on its way to the victory over the Crusaders. Price earned the win in relief of Revan with four scoreless innings and just one hit allowed while striking out eight and walking one. Bangs closed the game out striking out the side to preserve the win in his one inning of relief. Revan had seven strikeouts to two walks in four innings as the starter. The strikeout total of 18 is the seventh time in school history that the Gamecocks have reached the mark. The last time was on March 18, 2006 when six Gamecock pitchers totaled 18 in a win at Auburn. With the win, Price is now 2-0 on the year. Valparaiso starter Will Robinson suffered the loss and is 0-4 for the season. He allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits with five walks and a strikeout.
After allowing an unearned run in the first inning, South Carolina took its first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Brady Thomas tripled with two outs and scored on a passed ball by Valpo catcher Corey Thibault. Scott Wingo would then draw a walk and advance on a wild pitch and scored on Whit Merrifield’s RBI single to right field. The RBI base hit extended Merrifield’s hitting streak to 26 games and setting a school record for consecutive games with a hit. The previous consecutive hits record of 25 was set by Greg Keatley, who holds the single-season record from 1976. Merrifield has hit safely in all 12 games this year as well.
Valpo would regain the lead in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Justin Frane. For Frane it was his first home run of the season. However, South Carolina answered with a two-spot of its own as a throwing error by third baseman Kyle Muhlsteff allowed a pair of runners to score and put the Gamecocks back on top 4-3.
South Carolina would score single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to complete the scoring. Nick Ebert had a sacrifice fly in the fifth to score Evan Marzilli, second baseman Adrian Morales drove in Thomas in the sixth inning on a ground out and Robert Beary had a two-out RBI single in the seventh to score Marzilli for his second run of the game.
South Carolina ended up with nine hits to Valpo’s two hits on the afternoon. Thomas was 2-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Wingo reached base three times with a hit as well as two walks.
AUDIO: Ray Tanner
AUDIO: Whit Merrifield