Columbia, S.C. – Senior Cody Brittain tied a career-high with nine strikeouts but the No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks scored three runs in their final two at-bats in a 4-1 non-conference win over USC Upstate on Wednesday at Founders Park.
South Carolina improves to 35-9 while Upstate drops to 18-24.
Brittain struck out the side in the first inning and would strike out five of the first six batters he faced in the opening two innings.
Devon Ortiz led off the Upstate third inning with a base hit to right field before Jaden Savage lined into a double play. A strikeout would end the Spartan portion of the inning. A popout opened the South Carolina half of the frame before a pair of walks and a wild pitch put runners in scoring position. LT Tolbert scored the first run of the game on an Upstate error. Brittain got out of the inning thanks to a pair of strikeouts.
J.J. Shimko led off the fourth inning with a double to right-center field and advanced to third on a groundout. James Fowlkes drove in Shimko with a single to left, tying the game at 1 and extending his reached base streak to 23 consecutive games.
After a groundout began the Gamecock fifth inning, Marcus Mooney reached on a single and advanced to third on a Gene Cone base hit. Cone would advance to second on a passed ball before Brittain got out of trouble with a strikeout and popout.
South Carolina scored the go-ahead run in the seventh, taking advantage of a leadoff walk to Chris Cullen. TJ Hopkins would pinch-run for Cullen and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before taking third base on a passed ball. Mooney brought Hopkins home on a bunt single to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
The Gamecocks added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on two-run single by Madison Stokes.
Fowlkes went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Shimko finished 1-for-4 with a double and run scored while Ortiz finished 1-for-3 with a single.
Stokes went 1-for-3 with a single and two RBI. Mooney went 2-for-2 with two singles and an RBI. Cone went 1-for-4 with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to a Division I-leading 30 games.
Taylor Widener (2-2) earned the win with four strikeouts and a walk over 3.2 scoreless innings. Tyler Johnson earned his fifth save with a strikeout in 1.0 innings Brittain (2-1) tied a career-high with nine strikeouts over 6.1 innings as he allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with four walks and a career-high 111 pitches.
The Spartans return to A-Sun play this weekend against FGCU beginning on Friday at 6 p.m.