Christian Walker tied a season-high with four RBI including a game-winning solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning as South Carolina rallied for a 6-4 victory over The Citadel on Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium.
With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Walker blasted a two-out, solo home run into the left-field bullpen to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the game at 5-4, driving in his fourth run of the game after a 3-RBI double to tie things up in the fifth. Walker finished 2-for-4 on the night.
South Carolina (19-5) also got six innings of scoreless relief from Jose Mata, John Taylor and Matt Price, with Taylor moving to 2-0 on the season with two innings of no-hit ball with three strikeouts. Price picked up his sixth save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Citadel (10-15) broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Drew DeKerlegand reached base on an infield single followed by a base hit up the middle by Matt Simonelli. With two outs and runners still on first and second, Joe Jackson delivered a RBI base hit to center field scoring DeKerlegand. The Bulldogs increased the lead to 2-0 in the top of the second inning. Justin Mackert led off with a single and scored on Grant Richards’ two-out RBI double down the left field line.
That lead doubled to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning. Mackert singled and Brad Felder was hit by a pitch to open the frame. That ended the night for Westmoreland and the Gamecocks went to the pen for reliever Jose Mata. After a sacrifice bunt, Mata got the second out of the inning with a strikeout against Richards. However, Nick Orvin would come up with a key two-out single to right-center that scored both runners and gave The Citadel a four-run cushion.
Carolina tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Robert Beary led off with a single and Scott Wingo and Peter Mooney each walked to load the bases for the Gamecocks. With one outs and the bags still full, Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a walk to score Carolina’s first run of the game. With the bases still loaded, Christian Walker tied it as he drove a three-run double down the right field line to tie the game.
Jake Williams added an insurance run in the eighth as he was hit by a pitch, moved to third as a Brady Thomas sacrifice attempt led to a throwing error by the Bulldog third baseman, and scored on an infield bad hop single by Scott Wingo to give the Gamecocks a 6-4 lead.
South Carolina returns to action this weekend hosting a three-game series vs. Kentucky. First pitch on Friday is 7 p.m. with Saturday’s game at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1:30 p.m. Friday’s game will be televised live on FS South with Saturday and Sunday’s games on SportSouth.