USC finishes off sweep

COLUMBIA — A four-run sixth inning helped lead South Carolina to an 8-1 victory over Albany to sweep a three-game series at Founders Park.

The Gamecocks are 3-0 with Albany dropping to 0-3 on the year.

John Jones went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and finished the weekend 6-for-10 and nine RBIs for the Gamecocks (3-0). LT Tolbert added three hits with two runs scored, with Marcus Mooney reaching base in all four plate appearances and adding three runs scored.

With the game tied at 1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, South Carolina raced ahead with a four-run frame. With runners on the corners and one out, pinch-hitter Gene Cone drove in Tolbert with a fielder’s choice. After a double by Mooney put two runners in scoring position, a Danny Blaire infield single scored Cone. Jones would add a two-run single to make it 5-1.

USC added three runs in the eighth inning on a sac fly by Cone and a two-run single by Dom Thompson-Williams.

Junior right-hander Colie Bowers earned the win in relief with 11/3 scoreless innings of relief. Albany Joe Romero suffered the loss.

A pair of Gamecocks errors led to an Albany run in the top of the first inning. With two outs and Kyle Sacks on first base, Gamecocks catcher Chris Cullen threw down to first base, but his throw sailed wide of Alex Destino and advanced Sacks into scoring position. Sacks would score on the next play as a throwing error by shortstop Marcus Mooney on a grounder.

“It was a really good weekend for us,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “Other than what we did in the first inning today, I thought our kids played clean baseball.”

John Jones would tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the fifth. The frame would open with Mooney drawing a leadoff walk. With two outs and Mooney on third base, Jones would drive a single up the middle scoring Mooney, marking his seventh RBI of the series.

Taylor Widener allowed just one unearned run in five innings for USC, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out six.

“It was really great to see Taylor Widener throw the ball the way he did today, in his first start of the year. He had command of the strike zone and, he used all of his pitches very well. He has a power arm that can certainly help us.”