After watching his team struggle with injuries, illness and lack of offense for the better part of the past month, South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook welcomed the sight of Max Schrock back in the lineup and an offensive explosion in a 15-1 victory against Wofford on Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium.
It was the most runs No. 17 USC has scored since opening day.
“It was a good win for us,” Holbrook said. “It was nice to score 15 runs in a game. It’s been a long time since we got double-digit hits and double-digit runs. I hope it gives us a little bit of momentum going into the weekend.”
The most pleasant development in the victory was Schrock’s return from a back injury that had sidelined him since April 16. He has been able to take batting practice the past few weeks and worked his way back at designated hitter against the Terriers.
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He went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs and looked comfortable and pain-free at the plate.
“It was good to be back out on the field,” Schrock said. “I was trying to go up to the plate and get some rhythm back and see some pitches. Overall, I felt pretty good, no pain, which is good.”
USC (36-13) probably will have to monitor the injury the rest of the season. Holbrook is anxious to see how Schrock feels Thursday morning.
“Having Max in the lineup is just a different feel,” Holbrook said. “It brings a rhythm to the game offensively. It’s not that he’s tearing the cover off the ball, he’s just a threat. I moved Joey (Pankake) to the five-hole for some protection for Grayson (Greiner). I liked the flow of the lineup. Max in there gives us a different look.”
Grayson Greiner and Joey Pankake each hit solo home runs for the Gamecocks. Greiner hit his team-leading eighth home run leading off the second inning that helped spark a five-run outburst that saw five players drive in runs.
Pankake hit his first home run since March 23 against Kentucky to lead off the third inning.
Patrick Harrington drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly, hit by pitch with the bases loaded and a single. Harrington now has seven RBIs in eight starts.
“The opportunity presented itself, and I was going to make sure I made the most of it for the team,” Harrington said. “I understand the only reason I’m in there is people got injured, but I’ve busted my tail every day in practice and my teammates saw me doing it. I want them to be able to believe in me.”
USC took advantage of Wofford’s inaccuracy on the mound. The Gamecocks drew 12 walks, had three batters hit by pitches and scored a run on a wild pitch. Four times, USC walked with the bases loaded and two more times they were hit by pitches with the bases full. Seven pitchers combined to throw 185 pitches for the Terriers (25-25).
Curt Britt (3-0) pitched two innings of relief. He allowed three hits and one run. Reed Scott was effective in his four innings of work, and Vince Fiori, Taylor Widener and Matthew Vogel each pitch an inning and recorded two strike outs apiece.
“Reed started the game clean for us and we wanted to get a number of guys in the game from a pitching standpoint,” Holbrook said. “It was good to see a well-pitched game.”
USC announces shuttle changes: The USC game day shuttle location will be moved to Capital City Stadium for this weekend’s series against Missouri. The move is to alleviate parking problems associated with USC graduation on Friday and Saturday and the Vice President’s arrival on campus Friday.