COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – Kyle Martin’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning highlighted a three-run frame as South Carolina defeated second ranked Texas A&M 9-7 on Friday night at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The win improves the Gamecocks to 29-21 and 11-14 in the SEC while the loss drops A&M to 41-8 and 16-8 in league play.
South Carolina starting pitcher Jack Wynkoop earned the win and is now 8-4 on the year. He allowed six runs on 12 hits in eight innings with two walks and six strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Reed Scott pitched a perfect inning of relief with two strikeouts to pick up his second save of the year. Texas A&M reliever Mark Ecker suffered the loss and is now 1-2 on the year. He allowed three runs on three hits.
Tied 7-7 entering the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a base hit to right-center off the bat of Max Schrock. That set the stage for Martin, who launched a 2-2 pitch over the right-center field wall for his team-leading 12th homer of the year to give the Gamecocks an 8-6 lead. Carolina then added insurance as Elliott Caldwell singled, stole second with two outs, advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher and scored on Clark Scolamiero’s two-out RBI base hit to left field. The Aggies threatened in the bottom half of the ninth inning as Ryne Birk led off with a single and scored on Mitchell Nau’s RBI double to right field. That would be it though as Scott entered and set down Logan Taylor with a groundout and followed that up with back-to-back strikeouts of Nick Banks and Hunter Melton to preserve the Gamecock victory.
Carolina won despite being out-hit 14-8 in the contest. Caldwell was 2-for-5 at the plate with Martin driving in a pair and Marcus Mooney tying a career-high with three RBI on a three-run homer.
The see-saw affair started early as Texas A&M broke ahead 2-0 in the second inning. Banks singled with one out and J.B. Moss bounced a base hit into left field. With two outs, Ronnie Gideon knocked a 1-2 pitch from Wynkoop into the gap in right-center for a two-run double.
South Carolina got a run back in the third inning to cut the deficit to a run. Logan Koch led off with a walk. Texas A&M would make a mistake then as a Mooney sac bunt turned into a pair of runners as A&M second baseman Ryne Birk muffed a throw from A&M starter Grayson Long giving the Gamecocks runners on first and second with no outs. After Gene Cone sacrificed both over, Schrock drove in Koch with a RBI groundout to short.
A&M made it 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homer to left-center by Hunter Melton, his fifth of the season.
South Carolina answered again and tied it at 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Cone drew a one-out walk. The Gamecocks took advantage again of an A&M miscue as third baseman Ronnie Gideon threw wide of first on Max Schrock’s sac bunt and into the outfield allowing Cone to score.
It remained that way until the sixth inning when the Gamecocks took a 6-3 lead on the backs of Mooney’s first career homer. DC Arendas led off with a walk and a throwing error by Aggies shortstop Blake Allemand with one out gave the Gamecocks runners on the corners. Mooney worked the count until it was full and on the ninth pitch of the at bat knocked a homer over the left field wall to give Carolina a three-run cushion. Texas A&M would tie it in the bottom of the seventh on a three-run homer from Nau, his fourth homer of the season.
Kyle Martin’s two-run homer and a two-out RBI single by Clark Scolamiero in the ninth inning sparked a three-run frame as the Gamecocks defeated the Aggies 9-7
Despite allowing 14 hits, the Gamecock pitchers limited Texas A&M with runners on base as the Aggies were just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
· Marcus Mooney’s sixth inning homer was the first homer of his Gamecock career. Mooney also tied a career-high with three RBI that he set on March 1, 2014 vs. Clemson.
· Kyle Martin’s homer in the ninth inning was his team-leading 12th of the year. Martin also leads the Gamecocks with 52 RBI on the year. Nine of Martin’s 12 homers this year have come against SEC teams.
· South Carolina is now 9-2 on the year with two or more homers in a game.
· South Carolina is 17-1 on the year when scoring six or more runs.
· South Carolina is now 5-0 in series history against Texas A&M.
· Jack Wynkoop’s win was his 22nd career victory in a Gamecock uniform.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“We played hard and we competed. We put some pressure on them with our bunt game and short game. We stole some bags. They are a great team. There is a reason they are 41-8, not many people have beat them this year. They are probably one of the best teams in the country, if not the best and we matched them. We got some big hits when we had guys out there; (Kyle Martin) had a big swing of the bat. Clark made it a lot more comfortable, it wasn’t comfortable in the ninth, (but) that was a big third run there. It was a good team win for us. Jack pitched very well against them, they are very good. Reed showed a lot of poise there to get the last couple of outs.”
Senior first baseman Kyle Martin
“Both teams battled hard. They were down three, got a big hit. We just kept going (at-bat) to (at-bat) just fighting as much as possible.”
On his homer in the ninth inning
“I got down 0-2 real quick. At that point I was just trying to fight and get on any way possible. He ended up leaving a fastball right over the plate and I put a good swing on it.”