Adam Matthews put a halt to the South Carolina baseball team’s concern about the ineffectiveness at the top of the batting order.
The junior right fielder collected three hits, including two home runs, and eight RBIs to lead the fourth-ranked Gamecocks to a 24-4 win over College of Charleston on Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium.
Entering the game, five different players had 11 hits in 77 at-bats from the leadoff spot for a .143 average. Matthews drilled a two-run double in the second inning, a three-run homer to center in the third and a two-run homer to left in the sixth. He also drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth, which left him one RBI shy of USC’s single-game record.
“I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” Matthews said. “Wherever they put me (in the lineup) is where I’m going to play. Obviously, they’ll have more say-so in that. I’m really comfortable with two strikes now, and I’m comfortable just going out there and taking my rips and swinging. Hopefully, that continues.”
The home runs were the former White Knoll High standout’s first of the season. It was the second two-homer game of his career, with the other coming in an NCAA regional against East Carolina in 2009.
USC coach Ray Tanner plans to keep Matthews, who increased his batting average to .310, atop the order.
“The last three, four, five games, Adam has put together better at-bats. He has started to walk a little bit and get out front and hit some pitches in an aggressive fashion,” Tanner said. “He’s been outstanding, and he’s got to stay up there for us. That’s what we need, really. We need for him, maybe not have the night he had tonight necessarily, but a guy up there that can run, get on base and cause some havoc.”
The Gamecocks (15-4) pounded out 19 hits, including four homers and seven doubles, in handing the Cougars (15-7) their worst loss of the season. USC’s 24 runs were the most in Carolina Stadium history, and every player in the starting lineup got at least one hit.
Jackie Bradley snapped out of his 0-for-19 slump with a pair of hits, including a three-run homer. Bradley put a five-game hitless streak behind him with a move back to the No. 3 spot in the batting order. His average during his slump fell from .404 to .288.
“I knew I was struggling,” Bradley said. “I needed to make some changes and swing at better pitches. I felt like I was getting deep in counts, and I’m trying to find a pitch I could handle. I finally found a groove a little bit, and I’m glad to be back in it.”
USC sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes (2-0) threw six solid innings to collect the victory. He allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He gave up solo homers to Rob Kral and Daniel Aldrich. Patrick Sullivan pitched the final three innings to pick up his first save.
“It was kind of shocking. I’m glad the team started hitting,” Holmes said. “All those runs gave me confidence.”
Tanner was surprised by the outburst as well.
“We had a couple of big innings early. We probably had the best at-bats we’ve had in a long, long time in consecutive fashion,” Tanner said. “And Colby gave us a great start and made some really quality pitches early against a dangerous lineup. I was very happy to win, but I was surprised at the number of runs we scored.”
The Gamecocks broke the game open early with seven runs in the second inning and eight in the third.The second-inning rally was highlighted by Brady Thomas’ two-run homer, Matthews’ two-run double and Bradley’s three-run homer. The third-inning outburst featured a two-run double by Scott Wingo, a three-run homer by Matthews and a two-run double by Jake Williams.
Evan Marzilli added a two-run double in the seventh inning, as did Robert Beary in the eighth. Michael Roth drilled an RBI double in the eighth as well.
Charleston starter Robert Jereszko (2-2) lasted 12/3 innings, allowing six runs on three hits and two walks. Seven Cougar relievers didn’t fare much better.
The Gamecocks play Rhode Island (9-7) at 7 tonight at Carolina Stadium. Adam Westmoreland will start for USC.
Ray Tanner postgame
Adam Matthews postgame
Jackie Bradley Jr. postgame
|Coll. of Charleston||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||1||0||4||6||2|
|Marty Gantt rf||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||1|
|Rob Kral c||3||1||1||1||0||0||7||0||0|
|Robert Pritcher c||1||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||0|
|Matt Leeds 3b||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||1||0|
|Daniel Aldrich lf||3||1||2||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|Brandon Murray ph/lf||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Jose Rodriguez 1b||3||1||0||0||1||1||5||1||2|
|Cole Rakar cf||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||0||0|
|Waymon Hurd ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Dre Watts dh||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0|
|Ryan Daniels ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Jesse Mesa 2b||2||0||1||1||0||1||2||2||0|
|Brandon Glazer 2b||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Jamie Holler ss||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||1|
|Robert Jeroszko p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Casey Lucchese p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Rob Harding p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Nick Osterman p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Zokan p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Pegler p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Travis Stewart p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Blake Ross p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||6||3||3||8||1||1||0||0||2|
|Peter Mooney ss||6||3||2||0||1||1||1||3||0|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||4||3||2||3||2||1||4||0||0|
|Patrick Harrington ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||3|
|Christian Walker 1b||5||1||1||0||0||2||9||1||0|
|Robert Beary ph/lf||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adrian Morales 3b||3||4||3||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|Erik Payne ph/3b||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Brady Thomas c||3||1||1||3||1||2||5||1||0|
|Greg Brodzinski c||2||1||1||0||0||0||3||0||0|
|Jake Williams dh||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||0||2|
|Michael Roth ph/dh||2||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Evan Marzilli lf/cf||2||2||1||2||2||1||1||0||2|
|Scott Wingo 2b||2||3||1||2||1||0||2||2||0|
|Jake Watson ph/2b||1||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Colby Holmes p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Patrick Sullivan p||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
E - Mesa(5); Holler(5). DP - COFC 1; S. Carolina 1. LOB - COFC 4; S. Carolina 9. 2B - Mesa(5); Matthews(2); Mooney(4); Beary(1); Williams(2); Roth(1); Marzilli(4); Wingo(4). HR - Kral(3); Aldrich(8); Matthews 2(2); Bradley Jr.(5); Thomas(3). HBP - Marzilli 2; Wingo 2. SF - Mesa(2). SB - Morales(2).
|Coll. of Charleston||ip||h||r||er||bb||so||wp||bk||hbp||ibb||ab||bf||fo||go||np|
|Robert Jeroszko L,2-2||1.2||3||6||6||2||1||0||0||1||0||8||11||2||2||52|
|Colby Holmes W,2-0||6.0||5||3||3||2||6||1||0||0||0||23||25||6||6||87|
|Patrick Sullivan S,1||3.0||1||1||0||1||3||1||0||0||0||8||10||2||3||36|
Win - Holmes (2-0). Loss - Jeroszko (2-2). Save - Sullivan (1). WP - Holmes(1); Sullivan(1). HBP - by Jeroszko (Wingo); by Lucchese (Marzilli); by Osterman (Wingo); by Zokan (Marzilli). PB - Brodzinski(1). Pitches/strikes: Jeroszko 52/24; Lucchese 21/12; Harding 37/21; Osterman 23/12; Zokan 37/23; Pegler 23/16; Stewart 19/12; Ross 30/15; Holmes 87/53; Sullivan 36/19.
Umpires - HP: David Brown 1B: Jamie Roebuck 3B: Joe Marion
Start: 7:06 pm
Holmes faced 4 batters in the 7th.