The No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks' late offensive surge led the team to a 10-4 victory over the Charleston Southern Buccaneers after early pitching struggles left the game tied into the late innings.
Senior outfielder Dylan Brewer led South Carolina's lineup for the second straight game, going 1-4 with a home run that went over the bullpen, bounced off the fence that lines the Founders Park's grounds on the right field side and gave the Gamecocks a 6-4 lead in the sixth inning.
"Dylan's been one of our better hitters over the last, I'd say, three and a half weeks, so (there's) a lot of confidence in Dylan," head coach Mark Kingston said. "He likes being up there. He's confident, he plays with a little bit of swagger. (He) got the big hit tonight, probably the biggest hit of the night."
Although freshman pitcher Eli Jerzembeck got the start for the Gamecocks, he had a difficult outing, lasting only two innings and giving up four runs on six hits with one walk.
"Eli wasn't quite as sharp as normal," Kingston said. "I thought he gave up a few tough luck hits, but I thought the bullpen was outstanding tonight."
After Jerzembeck, the bullpen came in and silenced the Buccaneers' offense.
Sophomore pitcher Dylan Eskew was the first one called into the game.
Before this game, Eskew had only pitched two innings, with his last outing having been on Feb. 22 against Queens. In his first game in nearly two months, Eskew pitched 3.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
"(Waiting so long to pitch) was tough, I can't lie," Eskew said. "It's tough — mentally — just trying to stay focused and keep putting in the work, but at the same time, it's humbling just to keep working."
Fifth-year pitcher Nick Proctor came on in relief of Eskew in the top of the sixth inning, throwing 2.2 perfect innings and striking out five straight hitters. Proctor said after the game that a lot of the credit for his outing, however, belongs to sophomore catcher Cole Messina.
"Today was more of a fastball-slider combo — kind of just getting through my pitches," Proctor said. "Working up there with Cole is one of my favorite things to do, and we got into a rhythm there. (We) kind of executed both sides of the plate, both pitches, and I think that really helped out today."
With the victory, the No. 6 Gamecocks improve to 31-6 (10-4 SEC) and now shift its focus to a series against the No. 3 Florida Gators this weekend at Founders Park. Thursday's matchup will air on ESPNU, and the remaining two games on Friday and Saturday will be streamed on SEC Network+.