The South Carolina baseball team warmed up for its SEC weekend showdown with Florida with its second consecutive midweek blowout victory, as the Gamecocks defeated Rhode Island 17-8 on Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium.
But it was the actions of more than a dozen players and support staff earlier in the day that was the talk of day.
The brainchild of junior pitchers Michael Roth and Will Casey, the players had their heads shaved in a fundraising effort to support CAMP KEMO, a one-week summer camp for children ages 5-18 who suffer from cancer. This is the 31st time the camp is being held, and the fourth-ranked Gamecocks were more than happy to lend a hand.
The event was held in front of the Russell House on Greene Street Wednesday afternoon. Among the players to shed their locks along with Roth and Casey were Adam Westmoreland — Wednesday starting pitcher — winning pitcher Jose Mata, first baseman Christian Walker, outfielder Jake Williams and pitchers Bryan Harper, Forrest Koumas, Patrick Sullivan, John Taylor and Tyler Webb.
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Westmoreland, Mata, Harper, Webb and Casey all pitched against Rhode Island.
“I heard about it (Tuesday),” Mata said. “I knew I had to be a part of it. This team tries to do things beyond the baseball field. It was for a good cause, and we went out there and did our part.”
The effort was not lost on coach Ray Tanner.
“It was one of those things that is a feel-good, class act by those players,” he said. “They did that on their own. They weren’t pushed to do it, nobody put any pressure on them to go do that. They understand the cause. That’s what a lot of these guys are all about. I’m proud of them for doing that.
“I told them a lot of them improved their looks.”
The Gamecocks are feeling good about themselves on the field as well, having scored 43 runs the past two games to tune up for their showdown with No. 1 Florida in Gainesville this weekend.
The Gamecocks roughed up the seven Rhode Island pitchers for 19 hits, the second consecutive night they collected 19 hits.
Robert Beary led the charge with four hits and a career-high four RBIs. Jackie Bradley hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat as South Carolina batted around in each of the first two innings.
The Gamecocks (16-4) scored six runs in the first. Peter Mooney began things with a RBI double to score Adam Matthews before Bradley followed with his team-leading sixth home run. With that hit, Bradley became the 24th player in South Carolina history to reach 200 for his career.
Christian Walker and Adrian Morales, who had three hits and a home run, walked to chase Rams starter Brian Bodjiak. Brady Thomas greeted reliever Anthony Pisani with an RBI double. Beary followed with an RBI single before Thomas scooted home on a wild pitch.
“I was extremely happy with what we’ve been able to do offensively early in the last four or five games,” Tanner said. “We’ve had some quality at-bats.”
By the end of the third inning, eight starters had a hit, and eight had scored a run. All nine starters had a hit by the end of the fifth inning.
Ray Tanner postgame
Robert Beary, Jackie Bradley Jr. postgame
Jose Mata, Evan Marzilli postgame
|Mike LeBel ss||6||0||0||1||0||1||2||2||0|
|Jeff Roy cf||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Kenny Burns ph/cf||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||3|
|Jeff Cammans 1b||3||1||0||1||1||1||9||0||2|
|Greg Annarummo lf||5||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||4|
|Tom Coulombe rf||4||2||2||1||1||1||0||0||0|
|Ty Muller dh||3||3||2||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Milan Adams c||3||1||1||0||0||1||6||0||2|
|Pat Quinn c||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||1||0|
|Dan Haverstick 3b||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Joe Landi 3b||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Evan Laude ph/3b||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Pat Fortunato 2b||3||0||1||2||1||1||3||3||0|
|Brian Bodjiak p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Anthony Pisani p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kevin Lee p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Mike Bradstreet p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Rob Curran p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Gardner Leaver p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Nick Narodowy p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||4||1||1||2||1||1||0||0||2|
|Jake Williams ph/rf||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Peter Mooney ss||5||1||2||1||0||1||1||0||4|
|Erik Payne ph/lf||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||4||3||2||2||1||1||3||0||1|
|Patrick Harrington ph||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Watson 2b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||4||3||2||0||2||0||11||0||2|
|Adrian Morales 3b||5||3||3||2||1||1||0||3||0|
|Will Casey p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Alex Burrell p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brady Thomas dh||4||2||1||2||1||0||0||0||0|
|Greg Brodzinski ph/c||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Robert Beary c/rf||6||3||4||4||0||1||8||2||0|
|Evan Marzilli lf/cf||5||1||2||1||0||3||2||0||2|
|Scott Wingo 2b/ss||3||0||2||1||2||1||1||6||0|
|Adam Westmoreland p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jose Mata p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Bryan Harper p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tyler Webb p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Logan Munson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Wingo 2(2); Mata 2(2). LOB - URI 12; S. Carolina 11. 2B - Muller(2); Fortunato(1); Mooney(5); Morales 2(6); Thomas(3); Beary(2); Wingo(5). HR - Coulombe(1); Bradley Jr.(6); Morales(3); Beary(2). HBP - Burns; Cammans; Muller. SF - Fortunato(1). SB - LeBel(5); Coulombe(5).
|Brian Bodjiak L,2-1||0.0||2||5||5||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||5||0||0||22|
|Jose Mata W,2-0||4.0||2||1||1||0||2||0||0||1||0||16||17||2||8||75|
Win - Mata (2-0). Loss - Bodjiak (2-1). Save - None. WP - Pisani 3(6); Leaver(2); Harper(3). HBP - by Mata (Cammans); by Munson (Muller); by Munson (Burns). Pitches/strikes: Bodjiak 22/8; Pisani 27/12; Lee 9/1; Bradstreet 31/17; Curran 60/37; Leaver 25/13; Narodowy 32/18; Westmoreland 27/15; Mata 75/43; Harper 19/9; Webb 12/10; Munson 36/19; Casey 17/10; Burrell 11/8.
Umpires - HP: Charles Bruce 1B: Joe Marion 3B: Tom Haight
Start: 7:01 pm
Bodjiak faced 5 batters in the 1st.
Westmoreland faced 4 batters in the 2nd.
Lee faced 2 batters in the 2nd.