Given what is coming up this weekend, South Carolina did exactly what it needed to do Tuesday night during the 6-3, 9-2 doubleheader sweep of USC-Upstate.
The Gamecocks continued their recent hot streak by winning for the seventh time in eight games. They will go into this weekend’s final regular-season series against Georgia in sight of second place in the SEC East and a possible sixth seed in the upcoming SEC tournament.
“We really are playing much better,” Jackie Bradley Jr. said after his four-hit night in the two games that paced the USC attack. “It really doesn’t matter what we did in the past, it’s how you finish. The way it’s been going, we want to keep it going that way.”
Ray Tanner was pleased with the effort both offensively and on the mound against the Spartans (14-37), who had won four of its past six games, including wins against Wofford and The Citadel. Both of those teams have victories against the Gamecocks this season.
Tanner watched his offense tally 19 hits in the two seven-inning affairs Tuesday after scoring 15 runs in each of the last two games against Tennessee this past weekend.
On the mound, Parker Bangs pitched well in relief to pick up the win in the opener. Adam Westmoreland had not pitched since the end of April but gave a solid start in the second game.
According to Tanner, the entire staff should be available by Saturday’s season finale against Georgia on Saturday.
“It was a good day for us,” Tanner said. “We’ll try to get all these guys back by the end of the weekend even if it’s Saturday or of they feel okay on Friday. We couldn’t worry about the weekend yet, we had to win these two games.”
Andrew Crisp, the lone senior starter in the every day lineup, led the way at the plate. Crisp delivered a three-run home run in the first game that proved to be the game-winner. Then in the nightcap, he had four RBI on two two-run doubles to tie his career-high with four RBI in a game.
In his last three games, Crisp has 11 RBI.
“You always want to play your best at the end,” Crisp said. “The games that we lost we can’t do anything about them but we want to get hot at the right time and it’s coming up to the end of the year so hopefully we can stay hot.”
Bangs continued on his effort over the weekend when he struck out all six batters he faced against Tennessee on Saturday. He came on in relief of Jay Brown in the opener and pitched out of a one-out, bases loaded jam.
Bangs improved to 3-2 on the season with the 4 ð innings of work. He allowed an unearned run on two hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
Westmoreland was just as impressive by scattering seven hits over 5 Ð innings to improve to 4-2. He allowed two runs with seven strikeouts and a walk in his first appearance since pitching against Florida on April 26th.
Seeing that production from those guys gives Tanner hopes going into the final stretch of the season.
“It changes the complexion of our team,” Tanner said of the recent improvement from Bangs on the mound. “We’ve been missing him quite honestly. He’s looking like the guy we thought he would be all season and it’s never too late.”
|Simpson rf||4||0||0||0||Merrifield cf||4||1||1||0|
|Guillen ss||4||1||1||0||Mack lf||2||2||1||0|
|Tanner c||3||1||3||0||Ebert lb||3||0||1||1|
|Morgan 1b||4||0||2||1||Bradley rf||3||1||3||2|
|Wilkins cf||4||0||0||0||Dalles c||2||1||0||0|
|Shovlin lf||2||1||1||0||Crisp c||3||1||1||3|
|Green 2b||2||0||0||0||Enders dh||2||0||1||0|
|Stickley dh||3||0||1||1||Haney ss||3||0||1||0|
|Liput 3b||3||0||0||0||Wingo 2b||2||0||0||0|
|USC Upstate||011||010||0—3South Carolina||204||000||x—6|
|Moyer L, 3-7||5||8||6||6||4||1|
|Bangs W, 3-2||4||ð||2||1||0||1||5|
Umpires—Home, Drake; first, Chambers; third, Tallent.
|Guillen ss||4||1||2||1||Merrifield cf||4||1||2||0|
|Wilkins cf||4||0||1||0||Mack lf||3||2||2||1|
|Tanner dh||3||0||1||1||Ebert 1b||1||2||0||1|
|Moyer 1b||3||0||1||0||Bangs dh||1||0||1||2|
|Breen lf||3||0||1||0||Matthews dh||1||1||0||0|
|Green 2b||2||0||0||0||Crisp 3b||3||0||2||4|
|Bisgounis rf||2||1||1||0||Enders c||3||0||0||0|
|Medley 3b||1||0||0||0||Jones ph||1||0||0||0|
|Liput 3b||2||0||0||0||Haney ss||3||1||1||0|
|USC Upstate||002||000||0—2South Carolina||302||004||x—7|
Umpires—Home, Chambers; first, Tallent; third, Chambers.