Jones Goes 3-4, USC Rolls Past Albany, 6-2

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) – John Jones went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and Chris Cullen added three hits, including a pair of two-out singles as 17th-ranked South Carolina defeated Albany 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Founders Park.

Freshman right-hander Braden Webb earned the win for the Gamecocks after going five innings and allowing two runs on one hit with five strikeouts and three walks. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan earned his first career save with 1.2 perfect innings of relief. He struck out four batters. Albany starter Marcus Failing suffered the loss. He allowed three runs, two earned on five hits in five innings of work.

Jones’ solo home run to left field put the Gamecocks on the board in the second inning as he crushed the first pitch he saw from Failing for his first career homer.

South Carolina manufactured a run in the third to take a two-run lead. Cullen led off with a base hit, his first career hit in the Gamecock uniform. With one out and Cullen on third base, Marcus Mooney set down a perfect suicide squeeze to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 advantage.

Albany would tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff walk to Karson Canaday, Connor Powers lifted a homer to right field that just cleared the wall.

The Gamecocks regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Cullen connected with a two-out single to left field to score Jonah Bride. It was Cullen’s second hit of the game and first career RBI. Cullen would come through again with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as his third single of the day scored Jones, making it 4-2 Gamecocks.

Jones would make it 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-out, two-run single. Jones drove a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score both Mooney and Dom Thompson-Williams as the Gamecocks built a four-run cushion.

GAME CHANGER
John Jones’ two run single in the seventh inning extended Carolina’s lead to four runs.

KEY STAT
Carolina allowed just two hits to the Great Danes and have allowed just three runs on six hits in the series.

NOTABLES
• Today’s attendance was 7825.
• Junior right-hander Reed Scott retired all seven batters he faced for 2.1 perfect innings of relief.
• John Jones is 4-for-6 with four runs and six RBI in the series.
• Chris Cullen was 3-for-4 in his first career start with a run and two RBI.
• TJ Hopkins recorded his first multi-hit game as a Gamecock going 2-for-4 at the plate.

QUOTABLE
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“It was a good win for us. I thought we pitched extremely well. Braden got in a little bit of a stretch where he couldn’t locate his off-speed pitches. Connor Powers, I have to give him credit, was hunting a fastball because he couldn’t get his breaking balls over. He put a good swing on it and got Albany those two runs to tie up the game. I like the way our guys responded. We didn’t explode offensively or anything but we competed. We scored in five of our eight innings and had a chance to do a little more damage. All in all, it’s a 6-2 win in which we pitched pretty well, played great defense and had no errors. We found a way to win without Dom [Thompson-Williams] or Alex [Destino] getting a hit. I was pleased with what I saw and we played. We’ll see if we can come out here tomorrow and get the third one.”
UP NEXT
South Carolina and Albany conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Founders Park. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

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