In the two days after the shutout loss to Clemson, the South Carolina baseball team has scored double-digit runs in back-to-back victories.
The No. 12 Gamecocks pounded High Point 11-3 Wednesday afternoon at Carolina Stadium behind a 12-hit attack led by Alex Destino's three hits, which included a two-run single in the second inning.
Kyle Martin blasted a two-run homer and added a two-run single for a career-high four RBIs, and Max Schrock hit a two-run homer and lifted a sacrifice fly. Those three players also swung the bats well in Tuesday's 10-4 win over Charleston Southern.
USC coach Chad Holbrook was happier than he was Monday, when his team managed just four singles, although he doesn't believe all the ills are cured.
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"We have two wins. We've played better. We've swung the bats better and looked formidable offensively. We didn't get the bat knocked out of our hands," Holbrook said. "But we're not where we need to be yet. I don't think you can say you've arrived because you won two mid-week games. ... I'm not at all satisfied with where we are offensively. I am encouraged by what transpired the last two days."
The Gamecocks (9-3) open a three-game home series against Miami, Ohio (2-5) Friday at 7 p.m. riding the two momentum-building wins.
As the team's two leaders, Schrock, the junior second baseman, and Martin, the senior first baseman, said the hitters were committed to a new approach at the plate. Martin and Schrock hit two-run homers in the first inning to jump-start the Gamecocks to 10 runs in the first three frames.
"As a team we tried to be really aggressive. We were swinging at a lot of pitches early (in the count) trying to find a good pitch to hit. That's what we did today," Schrock said. "Getting out to an early lead is great because it makes everybody more comfortable, pitchers, fielders, hitters. It's a lot easier to hit."
Martin pushed his batting average to .349 with two home runs and a team-high 14 RBIs.
"We came out a little more aggressive swinging at first-pitch fastballs and being ready for those fastballs. With two strikes, we've done a better job of going to the opposite field and getting on any way possible," Martin said. "We've bounced back pretty well. Coming out hot and coming out with more aggression is a key so far."
Sophomore right-hander Matthew Vogel had a solid starting stint, but junior right-hander Preston Johnson pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings -- retiring all 11 batters he faced with five strikeouts -- to get the win over the Panthers (2-8) in his first career appearance.
"I just wanted to be aggressive and work fast, all of the things that (pitching) coach (Jerry) Meyers really pounds into our head," Johnson said. "I just tried to mix pitches and keep it down. (Catcher) Logan Koch did a good job, too, making those pitches look better than they actually were."
Johnson, a junior-college transfer who was red-shirted last season, now gives Holbrook another solid option.
"I was really tickled with the way Preston Johnson threw," Holbrook said. "He was really comfortable, he pitched to both sides of the plate, and he got his off-speed pitches over. He was impressive. I hope that gives him a lot of confidence, and we'll put him back out there."
Johnson and the other three USC pitchers also got plenty of run support, which also made Holbrook optimistic about better days ahead.
"Hopefully, this is the team we're going to be," he said.