South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook will be the first to admit he didn’t like his team’s offensive approach when it dropped the final two games of the Clemson series last weekend.
The Gamecocks struck out 27 times and only walked eight times in losing the series to the Tigers. Holbrook preferred what he saw in Tuesday night’s 7-1 victory over Wofford. The Gamecocks had 13 hits and only one strikeout in the win at Founders Park in front of an announced crowd of 6,432 fans.
“I don’t have to look at hit totals, I don’t have to look at batting averages, I can look at the walk to strikeout ratio and tell you if I have a competitive team and gives me competitive at-bats,” Holbrook said. “The walk to strikeout ratio over the weekend wasn’t indicative of a competitive team offensively. It was good to take a small step forward tonight but we have to do it over time, not just one game.”
Dom Thompson-Williams led the hit parade with three hits and three RBIs. He hit his second home run of the season with a two-run shot to right in the seventh inning. Chris Cullen collected two hits as every Gamecock starter had at least one hit in the win.
Thompson-Williams said the team didn’t think it would have practice on Monday, but said Holbrook was eager to get them back on the field.
“We didn’t think we were going to have practice, but Holbrook wasn’t happy with us. We had practice and we wanted to get back to the basics to what we’ve been doing in the first 10-gamer stretch, and that’s making adjustments. That’s one thing we didn’t do well this weekend.”
Thompson-Williams opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning before LT Tolbert delivered a big blow with a two-run single in the third. Cullen also scored on the play when the Wofford leftfielder misplayed the ball.
Cullen added an RBI single in the fifth.
Freshman Adam Hill allowed his first earned run of the season, but picked up the win to improve to 3-0 in the predetermined split. He allowed three hits with five strikeouts and one hit batter on 41 pitches. He has 24 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched on the season. He was on a pitch count with the thought the Gamecocks (11-2) could bring him back to pitch this weekend.
Tyler Johnson was impressive in his four innings of work. The sophomore right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced and ended up giving up two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in his longest outing of his career.
“The thing that stood out to me is obviously our pitchers threw the ball really well and that might have been as good as I’ve seen Tyler Johnson throw,” Holbrook said. “That was a very impressive performance from him.”
Wofford (10-4) starter Austin Higginbotham took the loss to fall to 0-2.
Star of the game: Johnson lowered his ERA from 16.88 to 6.75 with his outing. He’s had some tough luck this season but has 13 in 6 2/3 innings so Holbrook was glad to see.
Play of the game: LT Tolbert had the bases loaded for the second time in the third inning. He flew out to center to end the first with the bases loaded but cleared the bases with a two-run single and an error on the Wofford leftfielder to make it 4-1.
Stat of the game: 13. Dom Thompson-Williams has reached base safely in all 13 games to start his USC career.
No leadoff hitter: USC has used six different players in the leadoff spot in 13 games. Holbrook said that is probably the toughest decision he makes daily filling out the lineup card.
Position switch: Alex Destino moved from first base to left field. He’s struggled defensively at first but Holbrook wants both he and John Jones in the lineup and only one can DH.
What: South Carolina vs. Furman
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Founders Park
Watch: SEC Network Plus (Digital)
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area