In South Carolina’s tune-up before SEC play, a reliever pitched five no-hit innings, the coach moved up his best hitters in the lineup and a former Terrier terrorized Wofford on Wednesday.
Wofford transfer Jake Williams hurt his old team with three hits, including a triple, for a season-high four RBIs in the Gamecocks’ 8-4 victory at Carolina Stadium.
“It was a great feeling,” the Gamecocks’ designated hitter said. “Not that I tried harder than I tried in other games, but it was definitely there that it was my old team and I wanted to do as well as I possibly could.”
The Greer native transferred from Wofford after the 2009 season and had to sit out last year’s USC national title run. Williams had three hits and three RBIs when Wofford beat USC 16-8 in Columbia two years ago.
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USC coach Ray Tanner moved the Nos. 2-4 hitters — Adam Matthews, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Walker — up one spot and inserted third baseman Adrian Morales at cleanup for the first time this season.
Tanner said he wanted to get his best bats the most chances at the plate, and toyed with the idea of Bradley leading off after he was on deck for the last out in Tuesday’s loss to Furman.
USC (12-3) cranked 13 hits, the most in eight games. Morales went 3-for-3 with a solo homer that started South Carolina’s scoring. He also scored three runs. Tanner said he might consider keeping the new lineup.
Two Gamecock pitchers combined for six hitless innings to start the game and six pitchers combined to limit Wofford to five hits.
Lefthander Steven Neff started but pitched only one inning, which was planned. The junior will start this Saturday in the SEC-opening series against Georgia, Tanner said.
After Neff’s perfect first, sophomore Colby Holmes pitched five hitless innings, strikingout four and walking one.
Tanner said Holmes likely would start in a midweek matchup next week. The righthander was making a bid to become a weekend starter last year with three good consecutive starts before some poor outings.
“I think he’s more poised now,” Tanner said.
Holmes said he was not paying attention as each inning of no-hit ball passed: “I just do what I do, throw strikes and let the defense back me up.”
Holmes got some help from leftfielder Evan Marzilli, who made a diving catch on a fly ball to end the third inning, and from Walker, who dove for a grounder near the foul line at first to end the fourth.
Wofford first baseman Konstantine Diamaduros, the Terriers’ best hitter with a .475 average, led off the seventh with a single to left to breakup the no-hitter. Holmes got a groundout, but walked the next two batters. He was relieved by Bryan Harper, who struck out catcher David Roney but allowed a two-run single to shortstop Matt Moore before getting out of the inning.
Wofford (11-6) could not overcome the 7-0 lead USC built over a four-inning stretch.
After Morales’ homer in the second, USC loaded the bases in the third inning with a single and two walks, then Wofford reliever Ryan Traylor threw a 1-2 pitch behind Morales that scored second baseman Scott Wingo.
Williams hurt his old team in the fifth with a triple to the left-field gap that scored Walker and Morales. In the sixth, Williams added a sharp 0-2 single to right that plated Walker and Morales as USC scored three runs with two outs.
Ray Tanner postgame
Jake Williams postgame
Adrian Morales, Colby Holmes postgame
|James Foster cf||4||1||0||0||1||1||3||0||0|
|Mac Doyle lf||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||0||0|
|K. Diamaduros 1b||4||1||1||0||0||0||10||0||0|
|Taylor Rozier dh||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Clark Wise ph||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Landon Bennett rf||3||1||0||0||1||1||2||0||0|
|Josh McKinney 3b||2||0||1||2||2||1||1||0||0|
|David Roney c||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||3||2|
|Matt Moore ss||4||0||2||2||0||1||1||1||2|
|Alex Lee 2b||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||4||2|
|Eric Eck p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ryan Traylor p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Pete Noordsy p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Bobby Streisel p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Jesse Morris p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Thomas Nichols p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Alex Wilson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||3||0||2||0||1||1||1||0||0|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||4||0||0||1||0||1||2||0||3|
|Christian Walker 1b||3||2||0||0||2||1||8||0||1|
|Adrian Morales 3b||3||3||3||1||1||0||1||3||0|
|Jake Williams dh||5||0||3||4||0||0||0||0||3|
|Evan Marzilli lf||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||0||0|
|Peter Mooney ss||4||0||1||0||1||0||2||1||2|
|Robert Beary c||4||1||1||0||1||1||8||0||3|
|Scott Wingo 2b||3||2||2||0||0||0||3||2||0|
|Steven Neff p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Colby Holmes p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Bryan Harper p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Forrest Koumas p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Logan Munson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Price p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Moore(12); Mooney(6). DP - S. Carolina 1. LOB - WOF 6; S. Carolina 12. 2B - Morales(4). 3B - Williams(3). HR - Morales(2). HBP - Morales. SH - Matthews(5); Wingo(2). SF - Bradley Jr.(2). CS - Williams(1).
|Eric Eck L,0-3||2.2||3||2||2||2||3||0||0||0||0||10||12||1||3||55|
|Colby Holmes W,1-0||5.1||1||2||2||3||4||0||0||0||0||18||21||7||5||92|
Win - Holmes (1-0). Loss - Eck (0-3). Save - None. WP - Traylor(1); Munson(1). HBP - by Traylor (Morales). Pitches/strikes: Eck 55/32; Traylor 28/19; Noordsy 18/11; Streisel 30/23; Morris 10/4; Nichols 2/2; Wilson 23/11; Neff 10/7; Holmes 92/54; Harper 23/14; Koumas 15/10; Munson 2/1; Price 11/8.
Umpires - HP: Perry Ramicone 1B: Barry Chambers 3B: Mac Smith
Start: 7:01 pm Time: 3:01
Game notes: Predetermined split for South Carolina.