The South Carolina baseball team picked up right where it left off on Tuesday night as the No. 11 Gamecocks dominated in a 9-0 rout of Charleston Southern at Founders Park.
The midweek performance was highlighted by exceptional pitching from South Carolina, as freshman starter Jack Mahoney led the way on the mound. The righty finished his night with seven strikeouts and allowed just one hit in five innings of work.
Four Gamecocks relievers, freshman lefty Jackson Phipps, junior righty Wes Sweatt, redshirt sophomore lefty Julian Bosnic and freshman lefty Magdiel Cotto also got some reps in on Tuesday, as they each pitched one inning.
“Everybody that went out there had really good stuff,” head coach Mark Kingston said. “The fact that they’re so young, again, just gives us great optimism as we continue to work.”
This was another big accomplishment for Kingston and his team, as the Gamecocks didn’t have to tire out any arms for this weekend’s series, especially with the quick turnaround.
South Carolina’s win was also spotlighted by Josiah Sightler’s grand slam in the fourth inning, which gave the Gamecocks a hefty lead in the early half of the ballgame. The junior infielder was met with the favorable situation thanks to three-straight walks from the Bucs.
“That was great to see. Obviously, it really stretched the lead there for us and allowed us to do a lot of things after that, so just great kid that took a great swing,” Kingston said.
Charleston Southern pitcher Chase Gockel threw just two strikes in his lone 14 pitches in the inning to set the bases loaded for Sightler. However, the sophomore righty not only had to deal with a red-hot South Carolina lineup but also Gamecock hecklers behind the third-base dugout.
Kingston said the third base hecklers, also known as the “Rowdy Roosters” on Twitter, “definitely are having an impact in games.” Mahoney also had similar sentiments after the game, saying Founders Park has been unbelievable the past couple games.
“Whether they know it or not, that helps us a million times more,” Mahoney said. “When I’m out on the mound and it feels like the whole city of Columbia is basically behind me, cheering for me, screaming at me … it was just really fun playing in front of everyone tonight.”
Along with the Sightler grand slam, David Mendham came up with a home run of his own in the third inning, giving the junior infielder two RBIs.
The Gamecocks will now hit the road after a four-game homestand, as they head to Baton Rouge to take on LSU starting on Thursday. The Tigers are coming off a series win over Kentucky, as they took two of three from the Wildcats last weekend.
LSU will enter this weekend’s series with a 20-12 record along with a 3-9 mark in conference play. First pitch for game one is set for 7:30 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.