Gamecocks' bats stay hot in Saturday win over Dayton
COLUMBIA, SC --- Coming off an opening day performance that saw the South Carolina baseball team score 12 runs against the Dayton Flyers, the Gamecocks were looking to keep the bats hot in game two on Saturday.
It didn’t take long for the offense to finds its groove. After some defensive mishaps allowed the Flyers to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, junior Wes Clarke lead the way for the Gamecocks offense en route to a series-clinching 12-5 victory.
Clarke tied the game back up with a solo homerun to tie the game in the bottom of the first. This was Clarke’s second homerun in just the second game this season, after leading the SEC in homeruns last season.
Clarke wasn’t the only one focused on putting the ball over the wall. After Dayton left the bases loaded to end the top of the second, sophomore Braylen Wimmer hit a two-run homerun to left field in his first at bat of the season to put the Gamecocks up 3-1.
South Carolina would plate three more runs over the next two innings, courtesy of a Colin Burgess solo homerun and RBIs by Clarke and Allen, giving the Gamecocks a comfortable 6-1 lead going into the fifth.
That’s when the Flyer’s offense woke up. Riley Triotta launched a 3-run homerun over the left field wall to close the lead to two. After two walks and a single, Dayton would load the bases and put one more run on the board off a wild pitch, making it a 6-5 game midway through the fifth inning.
The run scoring would slow as both teams went scoreless through the sixth inning and Gamecocks pitcher Andrew Peter would throw back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. The South Carolina bats would again get going as Brady Allen led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo opposite field homerun and Jeff Heinrich would drive in Wes Clarke on a sacrifice fly to center.
Later in the eighth, for the second time on the day and third time this season, Wes Clarke sent a ball over the outfield wall, this one 415 feet to dead center to give Carolina a 12-5 lead and the win.
Following the win South Carolina Head Coach Mark Kingston had nothing but praise for Clarke, “He works extremely hard, cares a lot and is just a really good player”, while teammate Brady Allen claimed the homerun hitter as “omnipresent.”
The Gamecocks’ five homeruns on the day was the first time the team recorded five homeruns in a game since March 2019.
South Carolina (2-0) will finish the series against Dayton (0-2) at Founders Park on Sunday at noon.