Gamecocks power past Wolverines for sweep
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASEBALL
It seems like South Carolina has a different player step up and play hero over the first seven games of the year. Sunday, it was the Gamecocks' bottom of the order.
Three of the final four batters combined for four home runs and nine RBI while Reid Morgan turned in a gem of a start as the Gamecocks beat Utah Valley 10-3 to sweep the series.
“Obviously we want to have a lineup that has good length with one through nine being productive. Those guys hitting at the bottom today: (Brady) Allen with two hits, (Chris) Cullen with two hits and (Andrew) Eyster with three," head coach Mark Kingston said. "You want to have a good lineup one through nine and today was a sign we could have that.”
South Carolina (6-1) hit five home runs Sunday with the six-seven-eight hitters of Brady Allen, Chris Cullen and Andrew Eyster combined to go 7-for-10 with four home runs and nine RBI. They also drew four walks.
Cullen hit two more home runs today—a two-run shot in the second followed by a three-run blast in the fifth—and is now tied with Jacob Olson for the team lead.
Allen, after going hitless Saturday, turned around for his second multi-hit game of the season. He had two hits, both plating runs, and now has nine RBI on the year, second-best on the team.
“He’s a great hitter; we have a lot of great hitters in our lineup," Cullen said. "I feel bad for the coaches because you can put anyone anywhere and you’ll have great results. Brady’s young and he’s shown great things so far early in the season, which is great to see and promising to see."
Eyster, who came into today hitting just .227, had a career-high three hits Sunday, including a double in the fifth inning before launching a solo, 465-foot home run as part of a two-run seventh inning.
It was his first home run of the season.
“It feels really good. That’s one thing that’s always been a big part of my game," Eyster said. "To not have it the first few games was a little frustrating but it felt good to have it today.”
Meanwhile, Reid Morgan turned in another quality start, scattering six hits and three runs—one earned—over eight innings. His outing was the longest of any pitcher this season and the longest since Wil Crowe threw eight innings against Mississippi State in 2017.
He struck out nine batters, including the final one of his outing, screaming, "Let's go!" as he walked into the dugout.
Morgan (1-0, 1.29 ERA) is the first Gamecock starter to pick up a win this season and of his 99 pitches, only 26 were balls.
"I can’t complain about coming back and throwing eight innings. I felt really good today, and I just attacked the zone,” Morgan said. “I was attacking the zone and getting people out. It felt really good.”
Player of the game: Reid Morgan dominated in his second career start, going eight innings and giving up just three runs on six hits. He struck out nine and still hasn't walked a batter this season.
Key moment: After Utah Valley scored to cut the lead to three, Chris Cullen launched his second home run of the day to extend the lead.
Up next: South Carolina hosts Appalachian State at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in its final game before facing Clemson. No starter has been named yet, and the game will not be streamed.