The No. 6 South Carolina baseball team captured a 7-2 midweek win over USC Upstate for the second time this season.
The Gamecocks had a smaller margin of victory over the Spartans in this matchup than their first meeting earlier this season, a 19-1 win in Greenville, but still managed to control the game from start to finish.
The game featured 16 different pitchers, eight from each team. Head coach Mark Kingston said after the game that he kept each pitcher for South Carolina under 30 pitches to keep the entire staff fresh for their next conference series this weekend on the road against No. 4 Vanderbilt.
The eight Gamecock pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts while giving up only four hits in the game. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Matthew Becker started for South Carolina and picked up the win, pitching two complete innings with two strikeouts and one walk.
Freshman pitcher Eli Jerzembeck struck out a pair in two innings of relief, and fifth-year right-hander Wesley Sweatt struck out the side in the seventh. Right-handed pitchers redshirt sophomore Cade Austin and fifth-year Nick Proctor also had two strikeouts each.
"When you give up four hits in a midweek game, I think that speaks to our pitching depth, so very pleased with that," Kingston said.
The Gamecocks' offense also got started early with back-to-back solo home runs from senior outfielder Dylan Brewer and freshman outfielder Ethan Petry in the first inning.
Petry, the previous SEC Player of the Week, recorded his 16th home run of the season, putting him only one away from the all-time freshman record at South Carolina, which was set by Justin Smoak in 2006. Petry was 3-5 on the day and is hitting .449 in his first campaign in Columbia.
"There are guys older than (Petry) that are still playing high school baseball, which is amazing," Kingston said. "But, again, when you combine that strength, that ability to see the ball very well and that swing path, then, again, you get an elite hitter."
The duo of Petry and Brewer struck again in the third inning with back-to-back singles that set up an RBI opportunity for sophomore catcher Cole Messina. Messina was able to capitalize on the situation to knock in Brewer with a single of his own to put the Gamecocks up by three.
The Spartan bullpen struggled finding the strike zone, giving up three consecutive walks after Messina's single to score two more runs for the Gamecocks.
After giving up a double to the Petry in the fourth, Upstate issued four more consecutive walks amongst three different pitchers in the inning, walking in two more South Carolina runs.
The Spartans got on the board in the fifth with a solo home run and added a second run in the ninth inning after two fielding errors, but the team was unable to garner any real momentum throughout the game.
The Gamecocks head to Nashville to face the No. 4 Vanderbilt Commodores in a three-game series starting Friday, April 14. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be streamed on SEC Network+.