South Carolina clinched the weekend series with Charleston Southern in a 5-4 win Saturday, fueled by a pair of two-run home runs from two of the team’s most productive hitters.
Left fielder Alex Destino connected for a two-run homer in the first, sending a 3-0 pitch into the home bullpen. Center fielder Dom Thompson-Williams followed with his second two-run shot in as many days in the fourth inning.
“I feel very fortunate that our team found a way to win the game,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “Those two home runs proved to be the difference. We squandered a few other opportunities there that could have made it a little easier for us to win.”
Each team finished with nine hits Saturday. South Carolina (14-2) loaded the bases with one out after Thompson-Williams’ home run, but couldn’t scratch any more runs across. Destino drove in USC’s fifth run with an RBI single in the fifth.
Though the leadoff role remains a work in progress, Saturday marked the fifth straight game with Jonah Bride, John Jones, Destino and Thompson-Williams in the two, three, four and five holes, respectively. Destino, Thompson-Williams and Jones lead the team with four home runs each.
“It’s nice having a guy in front of you, John, who seems to be on base somehow every time,” Destino said. “Knowing it’s hard to pitch around me with Dom behind me, that makes you feel very good as a hitter and very confident.”
Freshman Braden Webb (3-1) pitched 5 2/3 innings in front of an announced crowd of 7,412 at Founders Park. He struck out four and allowed three hits. Josh Reagan earned his fifth save for the Gamecocks.
The Buccaneers (8-7) rallied to score four off USC relievers Vince Fiori, Reed Scott and Brandon Murray in the seventh and eighth innings.
Star of the game: Alex Destino led with way with a home run, an opposite-field single and a walk, to go with three RBIs.
Plays of the game: On a CSU sac bunt attempt in the ninth, USC third baseman Jonah Bride threw to second to get the lead runner out. Bride followed with a nice throw to first for the game’s final out.
Stat of the game: 1. The Buccaneers had one error Saturday, and it led to what would be the winning USC run by Bride.
Who’s up first? Mooney batted leadoff for the fourth time this season and first time since Feb. 24. USC has used a different batter in that spot in five of the last six games. Mooney was 0-for-4 Saturday.
Webb wins: Webb bounced back from the Clemson loss for his third win, with little trouble outside two base-runners in the fourth inning. Two of the three hits he allowed were infield singles. He’ll have to improve on working ahead in the count with SEC play starting next weekend, Holbrook said.
DTW stays hot: Thompson-Williams had two hits Saturday and has five-straight multi-hit games, each of them coming with the junior hitting in the five-hole. He has reached base in all 16 games and upped his batting average to .400.
What: South Carolina vs. Charleston Southern
When: 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Founders Park
Probable pitchers: USC, Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 3-0, 0.64 ERA, 14.0 IP, 2 BB, 24 SO; CSU, Jon Piriz (Sr. RHP) 0-1, 1.93 ERA, 14.0 IP, 2 BB, 12 SO
Watch: SEC Network Plus (Digital)
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area