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March 6, 2013
For the first time this season, South Carolina put together back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts in defeating Ball State 14-4 on a chilly and breezy Wednesday.
After scoring more than 10 runs just once so far (14-1 over Albany on Feb. 24), the No. 6 Gamecocks (10-2) exploded offensively against the visitors from Muncie, Ind., out-scoring Ball State 24-2 in a two-game series that constituted the first meetings between the two schools.
Leading the way on Wednesday was Tuesday offensive hero Joey Pankake, who matched his three-run home run from a day before with a three-run blast to almost the same spot in right field in the second inning that put USC ahead 4-0. Pankake reached base five times on Wednesday, finishing the day 2-for-3 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
What made Pankake's homers even more impressive is that both were opposite-field shots for the right-handed hitting shortstop.
Also standing out offensively were second baseman Max Schrock, who was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and catcher Grayson Greiner, who was 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
CAREER FIRSTS: One of the fall's most promising players, freshman George Iskenderian from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., made his first career start at designated hitter and got his first collegiate hit (a single in the third), scored his first collegiate run (also in the third on a sacrifice fly from Graham Saiko) and notched his first career RBI (a single in the eighth).
STREAK EXTENDED: It took a while, but LB Dantzler extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games in the eighth inning when he drilled a pitch into the right-field corner for a double.
STEALING DISCOURAGED: Ball State's stolen base in the seventh inning was the first allowed by USC so far this season.
STEALING ENCOURAGED: In addition to collecting three hits and two RBIs, Schrock also swiped three bases on Wednesday to keep his stolen-base percentage perfect for the year at 6-for-6. Also perfect for the Gamecocks? Greiner, who is a perfect 3-for-3.
REACHING FOR PERFECTION: Chase Vergason continues to be a base-reaching machine for the Gamecocks. He carried an on-base percentage of .450 into Wednesday's game, and reached base in his first four appearances against Ball State on a single and three walks to improve his average to .478.
WALKING HIGH: A day after drawing a season-high 10 walks, USC again drew 10 walks from six Ball State pitchers. Overall, the Cardinals used 12 pitchers - six each game - against the Gamecocks.
ERA FALLING: Coming into Tuesday's game with Ball State, USC's pitching staff had a combined team ERA of 2.25. After allowing just four runs over two games, it fell to 2.21 in 106 innings. USC also improved its strikeout-to-walk ratio to 105-to-27 on the year.
AROUND THE SEC
South Carolina 14, Ball State 4
Ole Miss 6, Southeast Louisiana 2
Kentucky 6, Xavier 3
Missouri 7, Eastern Michigan 1
Missouri 1, Eastern Michigan 0
Jacksonville at Florida
Sacred Heart at LSU
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