Story by South Carolina Sports Information
South Carolina scored seven runs in the first inning including a three-run homer by Robert Beary and junior left-hander Michael Roth struck out a career-high nine batters in 6.2 innings of work as the Gamecocks improved to 4-0 with a 10-6 win over Southern Illinois on Friday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. SIU drops to 2-3 on the year. Game two of the series is set for 3 p.m. at Carolina Stadium and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com. Live video broadcast and Gametracker stats are also available.
Roth earned the win and is now 2-0 on the year after his second straight solid start for Carolina. He allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits while walking only two batters. Sophomore right-hander Matt Price came on in relief with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth and retired both batters he faced to pick up his second save of the season. Southern Illinois starter Cameron Maldonado went one-plus inning and allowed nine runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and three walks to take the loss. He is now 0-2 on the year.
Carolina exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the first inning with eight consecutive batters reaching base with one out. Peter Mooney got things going with a single followed by a walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a hit by pitch against Christian Walker that loaded the bases for Carolina. Brady Thomas would get the Gamecocks on the scoreboard as he ripped a two-run double down the right field line scoring Mooney and Bradley. Adrian Morales followed with a double off the right field wall that scored Walker and Thomas increasing the lead to 4-0. After a base hit by Adam Matthews scored Morales, the Gamecocks went ahead 7-0 on a two-run homer by Robert Beary off the batter’s eye in center field. The homer was Beary’s first of the season and his second of his career. His previous home run came on March 30 vs. The Citadel.
That lead would increase to 9-0 in the bottom of the second inning as the Gamecocks knocked Maldonado from the game in the process. Walker singled to extend his hitting streak to nine games (dating back to last year) and Thomas walked to open the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Walker would score on a balk issued to Southern Illinois reliever Matt Murphy. Thomas eventually scored on Robert Beary’s RBI sacrifice fly to center field. Carolina added an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to increase the lead to 10-0.
Southern Illinois made things interesting with a late-inning rally, getting a two-run homer from Austin Montgomery to cut the deficit to 10-2 in the sixth. A solo homer by Wes Neece led off the eighth, and four of the next five hitters reached safely, leading to two more runs for the Salukis to make it a 10-5 ballgame. The Salukis then pushed a run across in the ninth and loaded the bases to bring the tying run to the plate, but Price retired the next two hitters to preserve the victory and earn his second save in as many appearances.
South Carolina had 12 hits to Southern Illinois’ 11 on the afternoon. Thomas tied a career-high in hits with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and also tied a career-high with two doubles in the game. He also scored two runs and drove in two to lead Carolina at the plate. Beary set a career-high with three RBI. Walker and Mooney also went 2-for-4 apiece. Southern Illinois was led by Montgomery, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Neece came off the bench and was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Chris Murphy and Nick Johnson each had two hits also.
The Sunday series finale game time has changed to 1:15 pm to accommodate Southern Illinois’ travel plans.