Fourth ranked South Carolina belted out 14 hits including a three-run homer by Kyle Martin on the way to a 9-2 victory vs. Furman on Tuesday evening in non-conference action at Fluor Field. The Gamecocks are now 27-5 with Furman dropping to 11-22 for the season.
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener earned the win in relief for Carolina and is 2-0 on the year. He pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and one walk while striking out four batters. Both the strikeout total and innings pitched were career-highs. Furman starter Ryan Dittmar suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed seven runs, six earned on nine hits in three innings.
"Widener is developing a little bit of a comfort zone," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He throws strikes. He has a little bit of a bulldog mentality, throws to both sides of the plate and has really good command of his fastball. He smoothed things out for us tonight. It was good to see Taylor throw the way he did."
South Carolina broke ahead 3-0 in the first inning. Joey Pankake led off with an infield single and after a sacrifice bunt from Marcus Mooney would score on Max Schrock's one-out RBI base hit up the middle. A failed pickoff, wild pitch and a walk to Grayson Greiner would give the Gamecocks runners on the corners. Kyle Martin would drive in Schrock with a base hit to left field and Carolina took an advantage of a fielding error by Furman shortstop Hunter Burton to score Greiner for the third run of the inning. The three-run first inning marked the most runs by the Gamecocks in the first inning in a game this year.
Furman cut the Gamecocks' lead to a run in the bottom of the second inning. Jake Jones led off with a single and Jordan Simpson walked to give the Paladins a pair of runners. After a sacrifice moved both into scoring position, Andrew MacLatchie drove a two-run single into left field.
Carolina answered with four more runs in the third to increase the lead to 7-2. Martin's homer would highlight the frame. A one-out double by Schrock followed by a base hit by Greiner set the stage for Martin. On a 0-1 pitch, Martin crushed his fourth homer of the year into right-center. The Gamecocks scored one more in the frame as Elliott Caldwell knocked in Connor Bright with a two-out single.
The Gamecocks made it 9-2 in the seventh inning. Peter Mooney reached with a leadoff base hit and scored on a fielding error by Burton at shortstop. Bright added a two-out RBI single as well.
All nine Gamecock starters reached base with eight of the nine tallying at least one hit. Martin was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI, tying a career-high he set last year vs. Liberty in the NCAA Regional. Mooney was 3-for-4 as well with a run scored. The three hits were a career-high as well. Bright and Schrock went 2-for-4 as well. The Gamecocks were solid defensively as well recording a season-high four double plays in the field.
"We scored more runs tonight than we did all last week," added Holbrook. "That part I'm happy about. We still gave bats away. We have to shore some things up. We are a work in progress offensively. I think we look a little bit better offensively when Max and (Martin) swing the bat the way they are capable of. That makes us more of a threat. It was good to see them swing the bell tonight."