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February 15, 2014

Gamecocks take Game 2 from Bucknell

At the press conference the Friday before the season began, head coach Chad Holbrook was asked about his batting order and commented that he liked having junior center fielder Tanner English in the No. 9 hole because it just seemed like every time English had a good game, that's where he was hitting from.

If Saturday's second game the season-opening doubleheader with Bucknell was any indication, English may never leave the bottom of the order.

Going 3-for-5 with a triple and career-high 4 RBIs, English led a 12-hit attack as No. 7 South Carolina pummeled Bucknell 12-2 in game two of the three-game series.

South Carolina improved to 2-0, while Bucknell fell to 0-2. The two teams complete the three-game series Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

"It was good to see Tanner have a great day," Holbrook said. "Five RBIs for the little guy in the nine hole is a pretty good day from the nine hole."

Along with English, both Connor Bright and Grayson Greiner had big games. Bright went 3-for-3 with a double and 2-RBI single in the eighth.

"Connor Bright was steady," Holbrook said. "Connor Bright has been doing that all January through our scrimmages. He's one of our toughest outs, and I think you saw that today.

"Not a bad day for him going four-for-seven (combined)."

Greiner, who was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs in game one, followed that up with a 2-for-5 effort from the plate and had the game's biggest hit. After Bucknell cut South Carolina's lead in half at 4-2 in the third, Greiner cam to the plate in the fifth after a Joey Pankake single and Kyle Martin walk put runners at first and second with none away.

Facing Bucknell starter Dan Wigel (0-1), Greiner worked a hitter's count, got the pitch he wanted and crushed it off the wall in left center field, smacking the yellow "380" feet numbers next to the visiting bullpen and scoring Pankake and Martin with ease.

"It was a 2-0 pitch, a fastball low and in," Greiner said. "Off the bat I could tell it was over the stairs but the wind kind of pushed it back toward center.

"I knew I got about all of it. I didn't know if it was going to carry out or not or if the guy was going to catch it or what, but I definitely put one of my better swings on it of the day. It felt good on the bat."

That swing gave USC a 6-2 lead it would push to 12-2 with a flurry of late runs - two in the seventh on English's 2-RBI triple and four more in the eighth on Bright's 2-RBI single and a 2-RBI single from English.

The runs were more than enough for starter Jack Wynkoop (1-0) who started off shaky, allowing six hits and two runs over the first three innings, but settled down to throw hitless frames in the fourth and fifth. His six strikeouts were a career-high.

"Jack really got comfortable his last inning," Holbrook said. "He was at his best his last two innings, but he was at his pitch count.

"I think he kind of really settled in there once he got comfortable, and that was encouraging to see. I hope it bodes well for us in his next start."

Up Next: True freshman Wil Crowe (RHP) will make his first start for the Gamecocks tomorrow against Bucknell. He will face the Bison's Andrew Andreychik (So. LHP).

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