The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks beat Charleston Southern, win fifth straight

	<p>Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner notched two hits and two <span class="caps">RBI</span> to help lead South Carolina to the 9-5 win. The team will travel to face Furman Wednesday night.</p>
Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner notched two hits and two RBI to help lead South Carolina to the 9-5 win. The team will travel to face Furman Wednesday night.

Vince Fiori helps USC shut door on Buccaneers despite allowing 13 hits

South Carolina clawed its way to a 9-5 victory over Charleston Southern Tuesday night after tough early innings, earning its fifth consecutive win.

Clutch pitching has been a key to the Gamecocks’ recent success, and it continued against the Buccaneers.

CSU opened up the fifth inning with a leadoff walk by Chase Shelton and an infield single by Drew Woodall to get two men on base with no outs. After Curt Britt got a strikeout for the first out, Buccaneer outfielder Bobby Ison hit an RBI single to center to make it 6-3. Hard-hitting shortstop Alex Tomasovich, who entered the game batting .330 with two home runs and 14 RBI, roped an RBI double into left field to narrow the deficit to two runs.

Vince Fiori then hit Zach Hagaman with a pitch to load the bases with one out. However, the freshman managed to get out of the trouble with a force out at home and a strikeout of CSU’s Brian Welch to end the threat.

“I felt good coming out there, and I got ahead of hitters,” Fiori said. “I was just trying to throw strikes. I haven’t thrown that many pitches in an outing yet, but I still felt fresh.”

Coach Chad Holbrook was impressed with Fiori’s performance against the Buccaneers.

“His performance enabled us to win the game,” Holbrook said. “He really gave us a chance to stay ahead and win the game. He’s been pitching well for us.”

That proved to be the best chance the Buccaneers, looking for their first road win of the season, would have to tie the game as Fiori and Patrick Sullivan shut down CSU to secure the victory.

Holbrook said neither starter Colby Holmes, who got the win but gave up two earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched, nor Curt Britt, who gave up two runs in an inning pitched, played their best Tuesday night.

Things got a little interesting in the top of the ninth as the Buccaneers brought the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded with two outs. However, Sullivan got CSU’s John Faircloth to ground out to end the game.

While the Gamecocks escaped with the win, they tied a season-high by allowing 13 hits.

Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner said he texted his cousin, who plays for UNC Asheville, to get a scouting report of the Buccaneers, since Asheville played them earlier this season. The sophomore’s cousin said CSU could “really swing it,” as Greiner saw Tuesday.

“They took some really good swings,” said Greiner, who finished with two hits and two RBI. “They have some good arms, and thankfully we had [Fiori] come in there and kind of keep us in the game.”

USC got things started in the bottom of the second thanks to three straight hits by Greiner, Connor Bright and Max Schrock. Greiner’s hit scored Bright to give the Gamecocks the 1-0 lead. A wild pitch, an infield single by Graham Saiko and a sacrifice fly by Chase Vergason scored runs to give USC a 4-0 lead.

TJ Costen padded the lead with a two-run homer in the fourth inning that gave the Gamecocks a comfortable 6-2 lead. Senior LB Dantzler added a solo homer in the eighth.

All in all Holbrook said his team did some “decent” things against the Buccaneers.

“We had a number of guys contribute,” Holbrook said. “It was an OK night. It was good to see [Dantzler] reach double digits in home runs off of a tough lefty.”

Montgomery may pitch this weekend: Holbrook said sophomore Jordan Montgomery may return this weekend. Montgomery has been out since early March with a stress reaction in his pitching arm. The first-year coach said if Montgomery returns against Tennessee, he would start in the series finale Sunday.