Logan Cribb pitched 10 innings of baseball against South Carolina before the mighty Gamecocks managed to score a run against him.
But when the Gamecocks broke through against The Citadel’s junior left-hander, they broke through big.
Grayson Greiner bombed a two-run home run in the third inning, LB Dantzler added a solo shot in the fourth, and Joey Pankake finished it off with a two-run homer in the ninth. The three long balls helped No. 5 USC hold on for a 9-5 win over The Citadel tonight before 5,838 fans at Riley Park.
The power display backed the pitching of USC freshman Jack Wynkoop, who ran his record to 4-0 by giving up five hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings for the 18-3 Gamecocks. Tyler Webb pitched the final two innings for his eighth save.
The Citadel (14-8) trailed by 6-2 in the seventh before staging a late rally. Reserve Brett Bullard, the Northwood Academy product who transferred as a graduate student from Claflin, sparked the rally with a line double to left to start the seventh.
After a bunt single by Hughston Armstrong, Drew DeKerlegand stroked a triple to center to score two runs. DeKerlegand came around to score when shortstop Pankake’s throw bounced past third, cutting USC’s lead to 6-5. USC Relievers Vince Fiori and Curt Britt escaped further damage.
USC got a run back in the eighth on a pinch-hit single by Kyle Martin, a sacrifice bunt by Wando High School’s Connor Bright, and a sacrifice fly by Greiner for a 7-5 lead. Pankake made up for his error with the two-run shot in the ninth, good for his fifth homer and a 9-5 cushion.
Cribb (1-2) was the hero of the Bulldogs’ last win over USC, a 2-0 upset of the eventual national champion in 2011. He pitched eight scoreless innings in that game -- his first college start -- but found no magic against the Gamecocks tonight.
Cribb lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs with three walks and two strikeouts.
Gamecocks catcher Greiner scorched a two-run home run in the third, taking a 3-2 fastball over the fence in centerfield. The ball bounced off the top of the wall some 398 feet from home plate for Greiner’s second home run and a 2-1 lead.
The Gamecocks made it 3-1 in the fourth when Dantzler cranked a solo shot high over the wall in right, his seventh homer of the season.
Back-to-back errors by The Citadel (14-8) helped USC pull away in the fifth. The miscues -- giving the Bulldogs 36 in 22 games -- put Gamecocks on second and third with no outs. Chase Vergason drove in one run with a grounder, and Pankake another with a single up the middle for a 5-1 lead.
The Bulldogs got it to 5-2 in the sixth, on a walk, a single by Bo Thompson and an error by USC second baseman Max Schrock.
On a beautiful night by the Ashley River, The Citadel got off to a great start. Cribb retired the Gamecocks in order in the first, and Mason Davis opened the Bulldogs’ half with a cracking triple over the head of USC’s speedy centerfielder, Shon Carson. Joe Jackson brought in Davis with a sacrifice fly to left for a short-lived 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs are at College of Charleston at 6 p.m. Wednesday. USC hosts SEC foe Arkansas this weekend.
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