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April 22, 2014

Gamecocks bash Davidson

Using a lineup without three regulars and a fourth - All-American Grayson Greiner - giving his legs a rest as designated hitter, No. 11 South Carolina shook off a slow start to breeze past Davidson 8-0 Tuesday night.

The Gamecocks got multiple hits from DC Arendas and Logan Koch, and every starter but one got a hit. Five USC pitchers combined for the six-hit shutout, with Taylor Widener (W, 3-0) picking up the win in relief of freshman Reed Scott, who pitched four scoreless innings in his first career start.

USC improved to 31-10 with the win and will face USC-Upstate Wednesday at 7 p.m.

"Obviously we got taken to the limit by Auburn and weren't as well stacked in the bullpen (tonight)," USC coach Chad Holbrook said. "We had to start a young guy (Scott) against a veteran team and lineup and a team that's hitting the ball extremely well, so I was concerned going into the game.

"But Reed kept them at bay through four innings. He did very well. He mixed his pitches, threw strikes and kept them off the scoreboard. Then Taylor came in and had his best stuff of the year.

"He was lighting the gun up pretty good. He has a chance to be a special player here and I think you saw a glimpse of that tonight."

The Gamecocks first got on the board in the third. Koch led off the inning with a single to right, but was erased on a fielder's choice from Tanner English that would have been a double play if not for English's speed. English then stole second and came around to score on Marcus Mooney's bouncing double down the line past the first baseman into right field to make the game 1-0 in favor of the Gamecocks.

That's how it stood through five innings until USC broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Joey Pankake led off with a single to right, then Kyle Martin drew a walk. Greiner then doubled home Pankake for his team-leading 37th RBI of the year. With Greiner on second and Martin at third, Patrick Harrington, making his third start of the year, got the first hit and RBI of his Gamecock career with an infield single he beat out to make the score 3-0.

Arendas' bunt single scored Greiner to make the score 4-0, and a sac bunt by Koch loaded the bases when the Davidson pitcher went to third too late to get Harrington, who scored on a passed ball to make the tally 5-0. A fielder's choice grounder to short from Gene Cone scored Arendas, then Koch scored when the second baseman's throw to first for the double play sailed over the first baseman's head to make the score 7-0.

Greiner added his 38th RBI of the year in the eighth on a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cone, who had walked to lead off the inning and then moved to second an error and third on a fly to right before coming home to make the score 8-0.

The shutout was the team's 12th of the year, moving it closer to the school's all-time record of 14 in a season set in 1974.

"It was a good win for us, a good mid-week victory against a good team that's leading the Southern Conference. Hopefully, we can continue to keep building on the momentum we've created the last three games.

INJURY REPORT: Left fielder Elliott Caldwell remains "iffy" for the weekend's series with a sore back. Max Schrock, Holbrook said, may miss the rest of the season as his back heals slowly. Connor Bright could have pinch-hit Tuesday, but is resting his sore elbow. He could play Friday. Evan Beal could pitch now if needed. Vince Fiori is "definitely" out this weekend, meaning Josh Reagan is the only left-hander in the USC bullpen.

Box Score

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