Gamecocks bounce back to beat Bulldogs 5-2, even series

Special to The StateMay 3, 2014 

Grayson Greiner

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com

— Grayson Greiner was one of the only productive players USC coach Chad Holbrook could name after Friday night’s loss.

That wasn’t the case Saturday as No. 9 South Carolina defeated Georgia, 5-2.

“We got a contribution from a lot of different people,” Holbrook said. “I think the difference between last night and today is we played defense behind our pitchers.”

The resurgence of the Gamecocks’ offense didn’t hurt their chances either. Nine hits are better than three.

Entering Saturday’s game, it wasn’t clear if South Carolina (35-12, 13-10 SEC) had brought its bats to Athens.

One player did, though – Greiner.

The junior homered on Friday night in the Gamecocks’ 3-1 loss and did it again in the top of the third inning Saturday afternoon to put South Carolina up 2-1.

“I left that fastball up, and he sat on it,” Georgia starting pitcher Robert Tyler said. “You can’t do that with big hitters like him.”

Greiner’s two-out shot to left plated both he and Joey Pankake, who reached base on a single to center earlier in the inning.

“That guy has a big league arm,” Greiner said. “He left me one up in the zone that I could get the barrel to, and it got out of here pretty quick.”

It was the spark South Carolina’s offense needed.

Greiner finished the second game of USC’s three-game series 1-for-2 at the plate with a home run, two RBIs and three walks.

Georgia’s Zack Bowers answered with a long ball of his own to tie the game at 2-all in the fourth – his third homer on the year.

Both offenses were stagnant through the middle of the game. Through five innings, Georgia and South Carolina combined for seven hits – Georgia 4, USC 3.

South Carolina’s offense woke up in the seventh. With two outs, Georgia relief pitcher Ross Ripple walked Greiner, and the Bulldogs (22-23-1, 8-14-1) ran into what they were hoping to avoid.

“It was a big inning for us – two outs and nobody on. It didn’t look good,” Holbrook said. “We found a way to put some big swings.”

Following Greiner’s walk, Brison Celek reached base with a walk; advancing Greiner. Next, Tanner English added a single to left to score Greiner and make it 3-2. With two runners on base, Georgia pitching coach Fred Corral brought Jarrett Brown in to relieve. Ripple (2-1) pitched two innings, walked three batters and allowed two earned runs.

Patrick Harrington followed with a single to right to bring in pinch runner Weber Pike and make it 4-2. Pankake’s RBI double down the left-field line in the eighth inning scored Marcus Mooney and added some insurance.

Sophomore Jack Wynkoop (6-3) pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs and five hits in the win. He also struck out three.

“He’s tough to hit; especially when he’s getting all his pitches over for strikes,” Holbrook said. “He did that again today and gave us a chance to win.”

Box score: USC-Georgia, Game 2

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