Gamecocks plaster Paladins

GREENVILLE - Fifth-ranked South Carolina belted out 14 hits, including a three-run homer by Kyle Martin, on the way to a victory over Furman on Tuesday night in non-conference action at Fluor Field.

The Gamecocks are now 27-5, with the Paladins dropping to 11-22 for the season.

Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener earned the win in relief for the Gamecocks and is 2-0 on the year. He pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and one walk while striking out four batters. Both the strikeout total and innings pitched were career-highs. Furman starter Ryan Dittmar suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed seven runs, six earned on nine hits in three innings.

"Widener is developing a little bit of a comfort zone," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He throws strikes. He has a little bit of a bulldog mentality, throws to both sides of the plate and has really good command of his fastball. He smoothed things out for us tonight. It was good to see Taylor throw the way he did."

South Carolina broke ahead 3-0 in the first inning. Joey Pankake led off with an infield single, and after a sacrifice bunt from Marcus Mooney, scored on Max Schrock's one-out RBI base hit up the middle. A failed pickoff, wild pitch and a walk to Grayson Greiner put runners on the corners. Kyle Martin drove in Schrock with a base hit to left field and Carolina took an advantage of a fielding error by Furman shortstop Hunter Burton to score Greiner for the third run of the inning. The three-run first marked the most runs by the Gamecocks in the first inning in a game this year.

Furman cut the Gamecocks' lead to a run in the bottom of the second inning. Jake Jones led off with a single and Jordan Simpson walked to give the Paladins a pair of runners. After a sacrifice moved both into scoring position, Andrew MacLatchie drove a two-run single into left field.

Carolina answered with four more runs in the third to increase the lead to 7-2. Martin's homer highlighted the frame. A one-out double by Schrock followed by a base hit by Greiner set the stage for Martin. On a 0-1 pitch, Martin crushed his fourth homer of the year into right-center. The Gamecocks scored one more in the frame as Elliott Caldwell knocked in Connor Bright with a two-out single.

The Gamecocks made it 9-2 in the seventh inning. Peter Mooney reached with a leadoff base hit and scored on a fielding error by Burton at shortstop. Bright added a two-out RBI single as well.

All nine Gamecock starters reached base with eight of them tallying at least one hit. Martin was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs, tying a career-high he set last year against Liberty in the NCAA Regional. Mooney was 3-for-4 as well with a run scored