COLUMBIA, S.C. - College of Charleston hit three home runs in the first three innings and the pitching staff carried the lead for the rest of the game as the Cougars knocked off #8 South Carolina at Carolina Stadium on Tuesday night.
The win was the first for CofC over South Carolina since 2007 and the second victory this season over a ranked team. College of Charleston (26-12) has now won five of the last six games. The Gamecocks fell to 27-11 on the season.
The Cougars offense was led by redshirt-sophomore Daniel Aldrich who went 2-of-4 with a two-run home run that put the Cougars up in the first inning. The reigning SoCon Player of the Week Bradley Goodson hit a solo home run along with sophomore Brandon Glazer who hit a solo shot to left field.
Starter Ryan West (4-3) earned the win for College of Charleston with an admirable pitching performance, allowing just three hits and one run through six innings. West worked out of jams in several innings. Josh Renfro came on in relief to work the Cougars out of a jam in the seventh inning, and David Peterson earned his ninth save of the season. Peterson gave up two runs in the eighth, but preserved the win by retiring the top of the Gamecock order to end the inning and shutting USC down in the ninth inning.
"I was really proud of the way that we battled against a great team," head coach Monte Lee said. "Our offense got the game going with some big-time swings, and our pitching staff was able to finish the deal. We made some excellent defensive plays as well. It was an outstanding program win."
L.B. Dantzler tallied two hits and an RBI for South Carolina and Connor Bright notched two hits and scored a run. Starter Nolan Belcher (2-2) gave up all four runs in the loss and was pulled in the third inning.
The Cougars got off to a hot start in the first inning as Gantt doubled down the left field line and Aldrich blasted a two-run homer to right field to put College of Charleston up 2-0. The bomb was just the third home run for Aldrich and first since February. His two RBI put him over 100 for his career.
College of Charleston kept the home run fest going in the second and third innings as Glazer and Goodson each lifted solo shots that cleared the fence in left field. The long ball was the second this season for Glazer, while Goodson extended his team lead in RBI to 32.
West pitched well for College of Charleston as he kept the Gamecocks off the board until the fifth inning when Dantzler hit a two-out double to score Marzilli.
South Carolina threatened to score in the seventh inning as Marzilli was hit by Kyle Owings and Christian Walker singled to advance Marzilli to third. However, Josh Renfro came on in relief and struck out Dantzler and got pinch-hitter Brison Celek to fly out to center.
The Gamecocks went on a dramatic rally in the bottom of the eighth inning, loading the bases against CofC closer Peterson with none out. Freshman Tanner English hit a single through the left side to score two runs and bring the margin to within 4-3. However, Peterson then set down the top of the Gamecocks order, striking out Joey Pankake, getting a flyout from Marzilli and a groundout from Christian Walker.
Peterson gave up a two-out hit in the top of the ninth, but Griener flew out to Aldrich to end the game.
College of Charleston returns home this weekend for a SoCon series against crosstown rival, The Citadel. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.