USC’s slumping offense found just enough base hits to support a strong pitching effort in a 3-2 win over Texas A&M Thursday night at chilly Carolina Stadium. The win snaps the Gamecocks’ four game SEC losing streak and improves their record to 20-6 overall, 3-4 in the SEC. A&M falls to 18-9 and 5-2.
The Gamecocks trailed 2-0 going to the bottom of the 6th and had not scratched out a hit against Aggie starter Grayson Long. Long hit Tanner English to start the inning but retired the next two batters. Joey Pankake finally delivered a Gamecock hit, a single up the middle, to put runners on the corners. Long was lifted for lefthander AJ Minter and he gave up a two run double to the gap in left center by LB Dantzler for a 2-2 tie.
USC scored the winning run in the seventh on a one out, bases loaded high chopper to short by Graham Saiko who easily beat the throw to first to avoid the inning end double play.
Gamecock closer Tyler Webb worked the final two innings allowing one hit and striking out four for his 9th save of the season. Adam Westmoreland earned the victory with 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Evan Beal started for the Gamecocks and gave up both runs. The trio of Gamecock hurlers struck out 17 Aggie batters and walked only one.
The series resumes Friday night at 7:00. Lefthander Nolan Belcher will start on the mound for USC. Texas A&M will counter with righthander Kyle Martin.