COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sophomore outfielder Jacob Olson homered twice and sophomore catcher Chris Cullen added a three-run homer as well as fourth ranked South Carolina defeated Appalachian State 8-4 on Tuesday evening at Founders Park. The Gamecocks improve to 6-3, while the Mountaineers drop to 4-4 on the year.
Senior left-hander Josh Reagan earned his first victory of the season. He allowed one run on one hit with four strikeouts in 2.1 innings of relief work. Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson struck out five batters in two scoreless innings of relief to pick up his third save of the year. Appalachian State starter Bobby Hampton suffered the loss and is 1-1 on the year. He allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Carolina broke ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Alex Destino led off with a walk and LT Tolbert reached base on a two-out single to set the stage for Cullen, who launched a three-run homer to left center, his first homer of the year.
The Mountaineers responded in the top of the third inning with a three-run home run of their own as Matt Vernon knocked his first homer of the year to left field.
The Gamecocks regained the lead in the fifth inning as Jacob Olson belted a solo home run to left. Carolina would then add a run in the frame as Destino lifted a sac fly to left field to score TJ Hopkins to give the Gamecocks a 5-3 advantage.
With the fourth home run of the game, Appalachian State catcher Chandler Seagle cut Carolina’s lead to 5-4 in the top of the sixth with a solo homer to left field.
Olson would come through again, this time in the seventh inning with his second homer of the day to increase the cushion back to pair of runs. Carolina added insurance in the bottom of the eighth as Tolbert singled to right field to score Christian Flint and Carlos Cortes extending the Carolina lead to 8-4.
Jacob Olson’s homer in the fifth inning gave the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish the rest of the afternoon.
South Carolina’s 7-8-9 hitters, LT Tolbert, Chris Cullen and Jacob Olson combined to go 7-for-12 at the plate with four runs scored, three homers and seven RBI.
• Chris Cullen belted his second career home run. His first career homer was on April 29, 2016 vs. Florida.
• Matt Williams owns a seven-game hitting streak. Williams went 1-for-4 at the plate in Tuesday’s win.
• Jacob Olson’s two-homer game was the first multi-homer game by a Gamecock player this year.
• The Gamecocks recorded three home runs for the first time this season. The last time they hit three home runs in a game was June 5, 2016 vs. Rhode Island in the NCAA Regional.
• South Carolina hitters recorded only one strikeout through all nine innings. The last time they only had one strikeout was vs. Wofford on March 8, 2016.
QUOTABLE Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“Big win for us, obviously some big swings at the bat from [Jacob] Olson and [Chris] Cullen. I thought Tyler Haswell did a really good job coming into the game, things didn’t really look so good after they tied it up. Coming off a loss on Sunday, it was a pretty sticky situation. Those kids were battling us. Appalachian State and their coaches have done a great job preparing their players. They play hard and scrappy, they know how to play the game. We were fortunate to win. They were coming off a win this weekend as well so I feel good about the win, feel good about some of the things we did offensively, feel good about some of the swings we had, and obviously we played some really good defense. It was good to get Tyler [Johnson] some work, he needed some work today and it was good to see him out there throwing the ball the way he threw it. So good win, good day for us. We are ready to practice and get ready for a big weekend.”
The Gamecocks are back in action on Friday, March 3 as they head to Clemson, S.C. to face the Tigers at 6:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. It will be broadcast live on ESPN3. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”