USC baseball coach Chad Holbrook called timeout before Weber Pike came to the plate in the seventh inning of a tie game against Stetson at Carolina Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The redshirt freshman from Beaufort had three career at-bats before Holbrook left him in the game to hit with two outs and runners on second and third. Pike repaid that confidence with a single to center to drive in the winning runs in a 4-2 victory against the Hatters.
Holbrook, who had team-leading RBI man Grayson Greiner available to pinch-hit, asked for the timeout so he could have a little more time to think about his decision.
“I got up there and looked in Weber’s eyes. I have the utmost confidence in him swing the bat. I do,” Holbrook said. “I think he’s going to put the ball hard in play somewhere all the time. I felt good about it. I just like Weber Pike’s makeup in that situation. He’ll battle and compete. He’s going to give everything he’s got.”
Pike knew he had to put the ball in play off Stetson reliever Tyler Warmoth (0-2).
“I got down (in the count) 0-2 pretty early, so I was just trying to fight it off at that point and got it over the shortstop’s head,” he said.
Along with 6 2/3 scoreless innings by the bullpen, Pike’s hit kept the third-ranked Gamecocks (12-0) unbeaten. He was going to start the game at designated hitter before Holbrook used Brison Celek. Pike entered in the sixth inning for left-fielder Elliott Caldwell.
“I was certainly proud of Weber. He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever coached,” Holbrook said. “He works extremely hard. He’s not necessarily blessed with the most talent in the world, but he got a game-winning hit for us.”
Stetston left-hander Austin Perez held the Gamecocks in check with six shutout innings before he gave way to Warmoth after a hit and walk in the seventh. Joey Pankake and Connor Bright followed with RBI singles to tie the game at 2-2 before Pike delivered his big hit.
The rally made a winner of USC reliever Hunter Privette (1-0), who pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Closer Joel Seddon threw a perfect ninth inning for his fourth save. That upped the number of consecutive shutout innings by the relievers to 36 1/3.
“The bullpen is a strength of our team. They continue to show that,” Holbrook said. “They came in and did what they’ve done all season.”
Stetson (2-11) scored runs in the second and third innings off USC starter Curt Britt, who lasted 2 1/3 innings. Tyler Bocock got the RBI single in the second inning, and Kyle Zech beat out an infield single in the third to give the Hatters a 2-0 lead.
Tanner English, Marcus Mooney and Logan Koch, who was catching in place of Greiner, led the 10-hit attack with two hits apiece. Bright has at least one hit in all 12 games.
“Early, the ball wasn’t falling our way, and we try not to panic. That’s sort of our mood of team to not press or anything like that. We just played our game and strung some hits together,” Bright said. “We’re not really worried about the record. We just want to keep winning and play how we’re capable of playing.”
Second baseman Max Schrock rolled his left ankle running through first base in the seventh inning and left the game. He’ll get X-rays on Thursday, but Holbrook believes it’s unlikely that he will play this weekend.
The Gamecocks play Brown (0-0) in a three-game weekend series at Carolina Stadium. Game times are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.