USC solidified its hold on fourth place in the SEC race and took another step towards earning a NCAA Tournament home regional with an 8-3 win over Georgia Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks swept the Bulldogs over the weekend to improve to 37-14 overall and 16-10 in the SEC. The Bulldogs fall to 18-31 and 5-19 in league play.
The Gamecocks overcame a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the third. Grayson Greiner drove in one run with a hard shot off the third baseman. That allowed Graham Saiko to score from third. Two batters later Brison Celek delivered a two run single to center for a 3-2 USC lead.
USC plated three more runs in the fourth. With runners on second and third and on one out, Saiko grounded out the shortstop scoring one run. Chase Vergason followed with a RBI single. And after Vergason stole second, Joey Pankake brought him home with a single.
Pankake was thrown out attempting to steal third to end the fourth and that led to some fireworks between the teams. As he was trotting off the field, Georgia’s Nelson Ward had some words for Gamecock third base coach Sammy Esposito. Esposito responded in kind and players and coaches streamed out of the Georgia dugout. There was a lot of yelling and finger pointing. The end result was Esposito, USC strength coach Billy Anderson and Georgia assistant coach Jason Jacobs were ejected.
The Gamecocks wrapped up their scoring in the 8th on an RBI double by Tanner English and a sacrifice fly by Saiko.
Freshman lefthander Jack Wynkoop started for USC and went 5 innings to earn his seventh win in nine decisions. He allowed five hits and two runs while striking out three and walking one. Adam Westmoreland pitched two scoreless innings and Tyler Webb worked the ninth allowing two hits and one unearned run.
Pankake led the Gamecock offense with three hits and a walk. Greiner and English each had two hits.
USC played without first baseman LB Dantzler who was given the day off to rest his injured shoulder. He’s expected to return to the lineup for Thursday night’s game at Mississippi State.
The Gamecocks play their home finale Tuesday night against Presbyterian.