COLUMBIA (USC SID) – Jacob Olson belted two home runs and seven different Gamecocks drove in at least one run as the University of South Carolina baseball team defeated Liberty, 13-7, Saturday afternoon (Feb. 16) at Founders Park. The Gamecocks pick up their first win of the year, pounding out 12 hits and striking out 15 Flames.
Olson drove in four runs, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored. TJ Hopkins was 3-for-4 with three runs while Quinntin Perez and Nick Neville had two hits apiece. Perez joined Andrew Eyster and Luke Berryhill with two RBI apiece.
Carolina used five walks from Liberty starter Mason Meyer to score five runs in the first. Neville and Perez added RBI singles in the frame. The Gamecocks took a 7-0 lead in the second after Hopkins tripled in Brady Allen and scored on Perez’s single through the left side.
Gamecock starter Dylan Harley cruised through the first two innings, striking out four in those first frames, but ran into trouble in the third. A pair of bases loaded walks and a balk made it 7-3. Liberty’s Will Wagner made it 7-5 with a two-run single to right. TJ Shook came in and induced a pop out to end the inning.
The Flames added a run in the fourth, but that would be as close as they would get. Carolina put up a two-spot in the fourth on Olson’s first home run. After Liberty put up an unearned run in the fifth, Olson second two-run homer in the sixth made it 11-7. Carolina closed out the scoring in the eighth as Berryhill belted his first home run and Eyster brought in a run on a sacrifice fly to center.
Shook earned the win, pitching 2.1 innings of relief and allowing four hits and one earned run with five strikeouts. Harley started the game, going 2.2 innings and allowing just two hits but five runs with five walks and five strikeouts. Cam Tringali made his Carolina debut, pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts.
Olson’s second home run of the day gave the Gamecocks some distance from Liberty in the bottom of the sixth.
Carolina’s pitching has now struck out 32 batters in the first two games of the year.
Olson had hit two home runs in two of Carolina’s last three games. He also had a pair in the Gamecock’s Game 3 super regional contest against Arkansas on June 11, 2018
Dylan Harley, Cam Tringali, Cole Ganopulos, Daniel Lloyd and Brett Kerry all made their first career pitching appearance in a Gamecock uniform.
Hopkins had his sixth career triple in the second inning.
Carolina now has a 12-4 all-time series advantage on the Flames.
Saturday’s attendance at Founders Park was 6,726.
South Carolina and Liberty wraps up the three-game series on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 17) at 1:30 p.m. at Founders Park.