Mlodzinski, seven-run seventh leads Carolina past The Citadel - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Mlodzinski, seven-run seventh leads Carolina past The Citadel

Carmen Mlodzinski (Source: TheBigSpur.com) Carmen Mlodzinski (Source: TheBigSpur.com)

CHARLESTON, SC (TheBigSpur.com) -- A stellar start by a freshman and a 13-hit outburst led South Carolina to a 12-1 victory over The Citadel on a chilly night at Joe Riley Park.

The Gamecocks (19-14) dropped the first game of the season series between the teams at Founders Park in March but every starter reached base at least once while starting pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski picked up his first career win in his first career start in the most recent date.

“He was outstanding tonight,” first-year coach Mark Kingston said of Mlodzinski. “He threw with command. Threw his fastball and slider for strikes at will. He was really good tonight, and I’m very pleased with that development.”

Junior Jacob Olson paced the Gamecocks with a 2-for-3 performance with a double and a home run. He posted a career-high five RBIs and also scored three times as he raised his batting average to .198 on the year.

“We wanted to come in and do what we do,” Olson said. “We played really good tonight, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Mlodzinski came out pounding the strike zone but gave up one hit in each of the first two innings. The freshman had a string of eight straight hitters set down before a dropped fly ball broke that streak in the fifth inning.

“I was pretty ready,” Mlodzinski said. “I didn’t throw many pitches on Sunday against Kentucky and I felt like I was ready to go.”

South Carolina scored a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings to give Mlodzinski a lead to work with. Sophomore Carlos Cortes opened the scoring with an RBI single and LT Tolbert doubled the lead driving in a run on a groundout.

After a two-out double by Riley Hogan in the fourth inning, Olson launched his ninth home run of the season, which leads the team, to put the Gamecocks on top 4-0.

Mlodzinski, whose previous career high in pitches was 36 against Furman, threw 73 pitches over five innings to pick up the win. The freshman didn’t allow a run and surrendered only two hits and one walk while striking out five on the evening.

“It’s good to see your team play well,” Kingston said. “You try to build on it. You want the guys’ confidence to grow. Every time you play well, you get a little more confidence.”

The teams exchanged runs in the sixth with freshman Parker Coyne giving up the only run for South Carolina in the game. After walking his first two hitters of the game, he eventually allowed an RBI single before getting a double play ball to end the inning.

Senior Madison Stokes hit a solo home run, his sixth of the year, in the top of the sixth but the Gamecocks put the game out of reach in the seventh scoring seven runs. The big hit of the inning was a three-RBI double by Olson.

“It means a lot; it gives us a lot of momentum going into the weekend,” Stokes said of the win. “It’s a momentum booster going into a big series this weekend against Arkansas.”

Cortes, Stokes, and catcher Chris Cullen, who was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, all had multi-hit games on the night. South Carolina’s hitters totaled seven walks and nine strikeouts.

Junior Graham Lawson had his best outing of the season pitching a clean eighth with two strikeouts while freshman Corey Stone recorded his first outs as a Gamecock pitching a perfect ninth inning.

South Carolina will return to the field on Thursday as it faces Arkansas at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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