The South Carolina Gamecocks hit the road for their first SEC series, Saturday, March 18th for a double-header as conference play begins. The Gamecocks took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, thanks to an RBI double from Will McGillis and a solo shot from Cole Messina. An Ethan Petry home run in the 4th made it 3-1 before the Bulldogs plated two in the 6th and one in the 7th, led by a Parks Harbor 2-run homer. The Aces for both ball clubs quietly led the game as both starters, Will Sanders (South Carolina) and Jalen Woods (Georgia). Both pitched well overall and went deep into the game, 7 innings to be exact for both. Sanders’ final line: 7IP, 7H, 4ER, 6K, 2BB.As for Woods’ line: 7IP, 7H 3ER, 11K, BB.
This exciting, back-and-forth game came down to the 9th. Talmadge LeCroy got things going for the Gamecocks getting hit by a pitch. Michael Braswell came on to pinch hit for Dylan Brewer with 2 on and one out. Braswell came through with a clutch pinch-hit double to right that allowed both runners to come around, score and give South Carolina the lead again 5-4. In the bottom of the 9th, the Gamecocks were able to close the door behind Eli Jerzembeck and James Hick who came on to get the 27th and final out and the save as the South Carolina Gamecocks won an exciting conference opener against the Georgia Bulldogs, 5-4.
Game 1 Top Performers:
- Will McGillis: 2-3, RBI, R, BB
- Michael Braswell: PH 2RBI 2B
In the second of the double-header, South Carolina got back to what they’ve been doing all 2023 campaign so far: mashing the baseball and shoving on the mound. Noah Hall set the tone to start the game…and end the game. Hall threw a complete game (7IP), allowing 2 runs, scattering 7 hits, striking out 5, and no walks to improve to a 4-0 mark on the season.
The Gamecock bats got hot in the 3rd, plating 4 runs thanks to a Braylen Wimmer RBI double (later scoring on a wild pitch), and another homerun from freshman Ethan Petry, plating Cole Messina as well. The 5th inning, the Gamecocks did even more damage, scoring 7 runs in the inning starting with another Ethan Petry 3-run homerun. Petry with 3 home runs on the day in the doubleheader. Later in the inning, Will McGillis came through with the bases loaded, with a 2-run double to left field to extend the lead. But the Gamecocks weren’t done yet. With 2 on, Wimmer singled to center field, scoring the pair to make it 12-1, to cap off the 7-run inning.
The aforementioned starter, Hall, finished the job on the mound and secured the series win for South Carolina over Georgia via a 12-2 run rule in 7 innings. Hall lowered his ERA to a solid 2.59. The Gamecocks would head into Game 3 Sunday looking for the sweep to start SEC play.
Game 2 Top Performers:
- Noah Hall: CG 7IP, 7ER, 7H, 5K, 0BB
- Ethan Petry: 4-4, 5RBIs, 2HRs, 2R
- Braylen Wimmer: 2-4, 3RBIs, R, BB
STATS & NOTES: (Double Header)
- Carolina is 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2017.
- The 19-1 start is the best for the Gamecocks since the 2004 team also started 19-1.
- The road team has now won the last four series between the Gamecocks and the Bulldogs.
In the series finally, the Gamecocks pick back up right where they left off in game 2. Will McGillis blasted a solo shot (his 8th on the season) scoring in the opening frame before plating 5 runs in the 3rd, one in the 4th, 3 in the 6th, and two in the 7th on their way to back-to-back run rules. Both Will McGillis and Gavin Casas had 2 home runs each, Casas with 12 on the season now. None of Georgia’s pitching panned out Sunday. Each of the 5 guys that toed the rubber walked at least a batter, gave up one or more hits, and 4 of the 5 gave up 2 or more runs. Carolina was patient at the plate, gathering 8 walks as well as collecting 10 hits to score 12 runs on the afternoon.
The home runs alone were more than enough for Sunday’s starter, Jack Mahoney, who went 6IP, R, 6H, 6K, BB and improved to 3-0 on the season. Mahoney lowered his ERA to a very respectable 2.67 on the season. James Hicks came out of the pen again to close out what would be the final frame, the 7th, with a clean inning with a strikeout. Hicks improved his ERA to a phenomenal 0.93 mark as the South Carolina Gamecocks completed the road sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs to start SEC play 3-0.
STATS & NOTES:
- Carolina is 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2017.
- The Gamecocks swept Georgia in Athens for the first time since 2010.
- Carolina now leads the nation with 20 wins
- The 20-1 start is the best for the Gamecocks since the 2000 team started 22-0.
- Carolina now has 56 home runs on the season. The 2022 team had 58 all year.
- The Gamecocks were the only team in SEC play to sweep a series on the road in the opening week.