Sixth ranked South Carolina scored six runs in the first three innings and batted around to score seven more in the bottom of the eighth on the way to a 14-4 win over Ball State on Wednesday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina improves to 10-2 on the year while the loss drops Ball State to 5-6 for the season.
With a 7-4 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gamecocks scored some insurance runs to go ahead by 10 over the Cardinals. Joey Pankake led off with a walk and advanced to third on a double to right field by LB Dantzler that extended his hitting streak to nine games. Max Schrock would drive in Pankake with a RBI single. Grayson Greiner kept it going with a two-run double that was followed by a RBI single up the middle off the bat of George Iskenderian, his first career RBI in a Gamecock uniform. Sean Sullivan would drive in two more runs with a double and he eventually scored after advancing twice on wild pitches.
Eight of nine Gamecock position starters had at least one hit. Pankake went 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBI. Schrock was 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and three stolen bases. Greiner and Iskenderian added two hits apiece with Greiner driving in three runs as well. South Carolina had 14 hits for the contest with Ball State finishing with 12 on the afternoon. Sean Godfrey went 3-for-5 with Blake Beemer 2-for-5 to lead Ball State at the plate.
South Carolina reliever Patrick Sullivan worked 3.2 innings of relief to earn the win. He allowed one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Ball State starter Clay Manering suffered the loss and is now 0-2 for the season. He allowed six runs on five hits in 2.1 innings with six walks and two strikeouts.
Ball State opened up a 1-0 lead on the first pitch of the game as Blake Beemer knocked the first pitch he saw from South Carolina starter Curt Britt for a solo homer to right field, his first home run of the season. Carolina answered in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game at one apiece. Three consecutive one-out walks to Chase Vergason, Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler loaded the bases. Vergason would score on Max Schrock's RBI single to center field.
Pankake gave Carolina a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer, his second straight day to tally a three-run blast. Graham Saiko singled with two outs followed by a walk to Chase Vergason that set the stage for Pankake. On Manering's 2-1 pitch, Pankake launched his second homer of the season over the right field wall.
Ball State cut the Gamecocks lead to a pair of runs in the third inning. Elbert DeVarie led off with a double down the right field line and eventually scored on Ryan Spaulding's RBI sacrifice fly to left-center.
Carolina however extended it to 6-2 in the bottom half of the third. George Iskenderian singled, TJ Costen walked and Sean Sullivan was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Saiko would drive in Iskenderian with a sacrifice fly to left-center. Vergason followed with a RBI single. The lead increased to 7-2 in the sixth inning. Schrock drew a one-out walk and stole second and third base before scoring on Grayson Greiner's RBI single to right field. Ball State crept to within three runs with a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth.
South Carolina starting pitcher Curt Britt went 3.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Sophomore center fielder Tanner English had to leave the game in the bottom of the third inning with a right shoulder injury.
South Carolina is back in action on Friday beginning a three-game home series vs. Rider. First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. with Saturday's contest at 4 p.m. and Sunday's series finale scheduled for 1:30 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game." Live video broadcast is also available at GamecocksOnline on the All Access Channel.