ATHENS, GA - Sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop limited Georgia to just two runs on five hits in six innings of work and was backed by an offense that generated nine hits and nine walks as seventh ranked South Carolina defeated the Bulldogs 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at Foley Field.
South Carolina improves to 35-12 and 13-10 in the SEC with Georgia falling to 22-23-1 and 8-14-1 in the league. The two teams close out the series with the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. It can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
Tied at 2-2 entering the seventh inning, the Gamecocks broke ahead by a pair of runs on the back of consecutive two-out RBI singles from Tanner English and Patrick Harrington. After Grayson Greiner and Brison Celek drew two-out walks, English jumped on the first pitch he saw from Georgia reliever Ross Ripple for a single into left field scoring Greiner.
The Bulldogs went to the pen for left-hander Jarrett Brown to stop the bleeding but Harrington would come through for Carolina driving a 2-1 pitch to right field for a base hit scoring pinch runner Weber Pike. A RBI double from Joey Pankake in the eighth inning gave Carolina insurance and increased the Gamecock advantage to three runs.
Wynkoop earned the win and is now 6-3 on the year. He struck out three and walked one. Junior right-hander Cody Mincey followed him with 2.2 scoreless allowing just two hits and a walk and striking out four batters, tying a season-high. Junior right-hander Joel Seddon retired the final out of the game to earn his SEC-leading 13th save of the year. Ripple suffered the loss and is 2-1 for Georgia. He allowed two runs on one hit with three walks in two innings of relief.
"(Wynkoop) is tough to hit, especially when he is getting all of his pitches over for strikes and he did that again today and gave us a chance to win," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook.
Eight of nine Gamecocks in the starting lineup had at least one hit with all nine reaching base. Pankake went 2-for-5 to lead Carolina at the plate. Stephen Wrenn was 3-for-5 and Hunter Cole was 2-for-4 for Georgia.
"We had contribution from a lot of people this afternoon," added Holbrook. "It was good to see Harrington get a big hit there, Tanner got a big hit and the pitchers pitched like they have been; they've been consistent pretty much all year. I think the difference between last night and today was we played defense behind our pitchers. We found a way to get some timely hits to get us a big win."
Georgia manufactured a run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Wrenn led off with a walk and was sacrificed into scoring position by Conor Welton. After a base by Cole put runners on the corners, Nelson Ward executed a successful safety squeeze scoring Wrenn.
It remained that way until a two-run homer by Greiner in the third inning. Pankake reached base with a one-out single that set the stage for Greiner's blast. On a 1-0 pitch, Greiner belted his seventh homer of the year to left field, the first homer allowed in Tyler's career at Georgia. It was also Greiner's second homer of the series.
Zack Bowers answered for Georgia with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bowers drove a 1-0 pitch from Wynkoop over the wall in left-center tying the game up with his team-leading third of the season for the Bulldogs.