Former Airport High standout DeAngelo Mack waited three years to take a regular turn in the USC outfield. Now that his opportunity has arrived, the redshirt junior is taking flight.
Mack led the Gamecocks to a 6-0 victory against Duquense on Monday afternoon to complete USC's first sweep at Carolina Stadium. Mack produced two hits in three official at-bats, including a three-run homer in the first inning.
Now that he's earned the job, Mack does not plan on relinquishing it, either.
"It's more a sense of ownership," Mack said. "You want to show that leadership and show the new guys the ropes."
Never miss a local story.
Mack also flashed the leather in the first inning. He made a diving grab in left-center to take away an extra-base hit and double a runner off first to end a potential Duquense threat.
The Gamecocks took advantage of Mack's play by jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out rally. Jeffery Jones ripped a double in the right-center gap off Dukes starter Paul Bugajski, who then hit Parker Bangs with a pitch. Mack followed with an opposite-field shot to left-center.
USC added three more in the second on singles by Justin Dalles and Bobby Haney, a throwing error by Bugajski on a sacrifice bunt, an RBI groundout by Jackie Bradley and a sacrifice fly by Whit Merrifield.
That was more than enough support for USC junior right-hander Blake Cooper, who pitched two-hit baseball through six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.
"I was really pleased with Blake Cooper today," Tanner said. "He filled up the strike zone.''