Gamecocks hammer Winthrop behind Taylor's grand slam
COLUMBIA -- The University of South Carolina baseball team's offense exploded for a season-high 15 runs and six Gamecock pitchers held Winthrop in check in a 15-2 win over the Eagles Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 21) at Founders Park. South Carolina has now won four straight games.
Freshman Logan Chapman, making his first start on the mound in a Gamecock uniform, got out of trouble in the second as he stranded two base runners with a ground out and a pop out to short. South Carolina responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. Jonah Bride and Chris Cullen walked to open the frame. After a fly out, LT Tolbert singled to center. Everyone moved up 90 feet on an error by the Winthrop center fielder, giving the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. Justin Row then followed with a single to right center, scoring Cullen for a 2-0 advantage.
South Carolina exploded for six runs in the third, highlighted by senior Hunter Taylor's first career grand slam. Tolbert drove in a pair of runs two batters earlier and the Gamecocks took an 8-0 lead heading to the fourth.
Winthrop put up a two-spot in the fourth, but the Gamecocks put up a run in the fifth on Row's third hit of the day, a double over the head of the third baseman to give South Carolina a 9-2 lead. Cullen's RBI single in the sixth scored Hopkins, giving the Gamecocks double digits in runs for the first time this season. Danny Blair drove in a run with an infield single and Taylor brought in his fifth run with a bases-loaded walk to push the lead to 12-2.
A sacrifice fly from Carlos Cortes gave South Carolina a 13-2 lead. Tolbert put the exclamation point on the win with a two-run home run to right.
The bottom three in the lineup (Tolbert, Row and Taylor) combined to go 7-for-11 with 11 RBI. Tolbert and Taylor both had career-highs in RBI, four and five, respectively. Hopkins added two hits for the Gamecocks.
Chapman picks up the win in a pre-determined pitch count start. He went three-plus innings, allowing three hits and an earned run with four strikeouts. Gage Hinson pitched three innings of solid relief, allowing just one hit. TJ Shook, Parker Coyne and Hunter Lomas each pitched one inning. Lomas had a pair of strikeouts while Shook and Coyne had one apiece.