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Gamecocks hitters come alive in final scrimmage before World Series

The Gamecocks finished up its last weekend of scrimmages before the high-intensity Garnet and Black World Series next weekend, ending with a come-from-behind 10-5 win for the Black team.

Coming into the final inning trailing 5-4, the Black team took advantage of shaky young pitching to crank out six runs to win the scrimmage.

Facing redshirt freshman Harrison Smith, TJ Hopkins and LT Tolbert hit back-to-back singles before Alex Destino walked to load the bases with one out.

Jonah Bride took advantage, ripping a bases clearing double to left to give the team a 7-5 lead. Smith was pulled after that, giving way to freshman Wilson Beattie.

Click for more photos from Sunday's scrimmage

Also see: Josh Low's instant UMass analysis

Beattie gave up a single to John Jones that scored Bride, and Jacob Olson went opposite field, hammering a two-run homer to left field to make the score 10-5.

It was a rough day for most of the pitchers Sunday. Of the seven who took the mound, five gave up multiple runs, and the only pitchers who didn’t allow a run were Adam Hill and Hank Nichols.

Of the 18 players to have a place appearance, 13 got hits and 16 reached base safely.

“I don’t know if any of our scrimmages were all that clean, but some guys got some hits and we did some good things defensively,” head coach Chad Holbrook said.

Alex Destino joined Olson in the home run club, blasting a monster three-run shot to right field to tie the game in the third inning. Chris Cullen went 2-for-4 Sunday, and Holbrook said the catcher’s been “one of our more impressive players.”

Other returning players who stood out at the plate were TJ Hopkins, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and John Jones who also had a two-hit day. Holbrook also said along with the experience as hitters, the pitching was a bright spot the first two scrimmages of the weekend.

“Some of our veterans have, I wouldn’t say separate themselves, but put them in a very good position to be the offensive leaders of our team,” he said. “Our pitching staff was outstanding Friday and Saturday. Today we struggled a little bit, but Crowe and Schmidt threw the ball really well. They both look like Friday night guys to me. That was encouraging.”

Also see: Weekend baseball news

This was the last scrimmage until the Garnet and Black World Series, the final weekend of scrimmages. It’s a best-of-five series, started with a draft Monday and continuing into the weekend.

Holbrook said he expects the intensity to be ratcheted up this week before the games, and it gives players a chance to play for something big before fall practices end.

“It’s a fun and entertaining week for me. I think they get a sense of excitement from the World Series,” Holbrook said. “We put something on the line in regards to some conditioning or a team meal for the winners. They love their barbecue, and they love their ribs. So they’ll play hard for that.”

This is the last weekend until January Holbrook and his staff will be able to evaluate players in a scrimmage setting, and it’s an important time for them to see who will compete more in the spring for starting spots.

“We’re still trying to figure out things out as coaches,” Holbrook said. “For us to sit in the stands and watch and evaluate it helps us. I think that helps us going into the winter break.”

Also see: Friday's Insider Report

Starting lineups

Garnet

1B, Matt Williams; 2B, Chase DeMars; 3B, Carlos Cortes; SS, Madison Stokes; LF, Jake Wright; CF, Danny Blair; RF, Christian Flint; C, Chris Cullen; SP, Adam Hill

Black

1B, Ross Grosvenor; 2B, Jacob Olson; 3B, Jonah Bride; SS, LT Tolbert; LF, Alex Destino; CF, TJ Hopkins; RF, Josh Gregory; C, John Jones; SP, Rian Haire

Pitching lines

Rian Haire: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 HP

T.J. Shook: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K

Hank Nichols: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Adam Hill: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Josh Reagan: 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K

Harrison Smith: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 1 K

Wilson Beattie: 4 BF, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K

Top offensive performers

Alex Destino: 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB; Jonah Bride: 1-2, 2B, 3 RBI, R, BB, HP; TJ Hopkins: 2-4, 2 R; Chris Cullen: 2-4, Christian Flint: 3-3, 2B, 2 RBIs


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