College of Charleston tallied three home runs in the first three innings and held off a late rally from No. 8 South Carolina as the Cougars defeated the Gamecocks 4-3 on Tuesday evening in nonconference action at Carolina Stadium.
South Carolina is now 27-11 on the year with College of Charleston improving to 26-12 for the season.
A two-run homer by Daniel Aldrich in the first inning and solo home runs by Brandon Glazer and Bradley Goodson in the second and third innings gave the Cougars a four-run cushion. It was enough for College of Charleston starting pitcher Ryan West, who allowed one run on three hits in seven innings of work to improve to 4-3 for the season.
South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher suffered the loss and is now 2-2 on the year. He allowed four runs on four hits in 2.2 innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
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The Cougars took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. After a leadoff double from Marty Gantt, Aldrich drilled a two-out home run to right field. The Gamecocks also started the game with a leadoff double coming from Joey Pankake but left him stranded at third.
The Cougars increased their lead to 4-0 with both Brandon Glazer and Bradley Goodson contributing with homers to left field.
South Carolina loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning on a single by LB Dantzler and a pair of hit by pitches. With two outs, West got out of the jam coaxing Tanner English into a ground out to the third baseman. Carolina would get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning as a two-out RBI double from Dantzler would score Marzilli.
In the bottom of the seventh, South Carolina looked to get closer as Joey Pankake was hit by a pitch to open the frame by College of Charleston reliever Kyle Owings and Christian Walker singled to right field with one out. With runners on the corners, Cougar reliever Josh Renfro struck out Dantzler and pinch hitter Brison Celek flied out to center field ending the Gamecocks’ threat.
South Carolina attempted to rally again in the bottom of the eighth inning as a leadoff single from Connor Bright, a walk to Grayson Greiner and a single from pinch hitter Michael Roth loaded the bases with no outs. Tanner English then delivered, knocking a base hit into left field scoring two cutting the Cougars’ lead to 4-3. College of Charleston reliever David Peterson held on though and retired Pankake with a strikeout, Marzilli lined out to left field and Walker grounded out to second keeping the Gamecocks behind by a run. The last chance for Carolina came in the ninth inning as Bright singled with two outs. However, Peterson earned his ninth save of the year with a fly out by Grayson Greiner that ended the game.
Both teams had eight hits for the evening. Aldrich was 2 for 4 with two RBIs to lead College of Charleston. Dantzler and Bright had two hits apiece for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina is back in action this weekend with a three-game series at Auburn. First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. Friday.