South Carolina Baseball: Xavier 2022 Game Score, Highlights
An idle fan along the left field line and 18 rows from the playing surface waved a garnet and black flag back and forth. Pitch after pitch, out after out, he maintained his form through two full innings.
The waved flag was, at least in theory, a nod of support for a struggling South Carolina baseball team that had just lost three games to rival Clemson.
In practice, that signaled capitulation as USC (7-5) was routed 15-7 by Xavier (3-9) at Founders Park on Tuesday night.
“Frustrating day for us, but we have to move on,” head coach Mark Kingston said afterwards. “We have to turn the page and get to work tomorrow. This will be our priority. »
Multiple injuries to South Carolina’s pitching staff have created a host of problems this spring. These were on full display against Xavier as USC employed nine different pitchers, including infielder Jalen Vasquez, to no avail.
Starter Wesley Sweatt made it through the first inning, hitting the team on just 12 pitches. He added his fourth straight strikeout to open the second inning.
That efficiency stopped there.
Sweatt first allowed an RBI brace to cross the bat from Garrett Schultz. Xavier scored his second run from the frame on a ground ball that scored a runner from third.
The Gamecocks turned to second-year right-hander Aidan Hunter in relief as Sweatt disappeared. The Summerville native was quickly scored for a Xavier singles barrage during his 1.1 innings pitched.
The Musketeers broke for seven runs in the fourth inning via five singles and a fielder’s pick. Six of the runs went to Hunter, while Michael Esposito gave up the seventh after entering the frame with one out.
“Sometimes baseball is cruel and every ball the opponent hits finds a hole,” Kingston said. “And today was one of those days.”
Xavier found his first knockout punch attempt when two-hole hitter Jack Housinger slapped a single to the right side of the infield for a pair of runs in the seventh inning.
Talmadge LeCroy gave the Gamecocks a brief breather with an eighth-inning brace away from right-center — South Carolina’s first inning in more than two hours. Brandt Belk added the second and third points from the frame when he scored a brace down the right field line.
But even in a year that has already seen South Carolina make late comebacks against UNC-Greensboro and Appalachian State, Tuesday’s deficit proved insurmountable.
Powerful No. 3 hitter Luke Franzoni found the uppercut Xavier was looking for late when he hit a 3-2 offering from Cam Tringali on the underside of the upper deck in left field for a 2-run shot into the ninth inning, stretching the Musketeer leads to a touchdown.
“Character will be revealed,” Kingston said of how South Carolina can alleviate their current injury problems. “That is clearly the message: in difficult times, character will be revealed.”
South Carolina’s 2022 season, while still early, has been inconsistent on its best days. The Gamecocks picked up a series win over UNC-Greensboro on opening weekend. He then squandered a 14-strikeout effort by ace Will Sanders in Game 1 of an eventual Clemson sweep.
USC notched three largely comfortable wins over a 3-7 team of George Washington and added a midweek rout of Winthrop. But those victories are to be expected from a historic Southeastern Conference program. Tuesday’s result was not.
The 2022 season remains young. South Carolina hosts No. 1 Texas at Founders Park for a three-game set this weekend. This is a great opportunity to reverse his early season scenario. Kingston made it clear that the Gamecocks weren’t afraid of the opportunity.
Maybe the performance against Xavier will be an anomaly by the end of the season. It’s far too early to wave a white flag on the 2022 campaign.
Outings like Tuesday, however, cannot become the norm in Colombia.
South Carolina vs. Texas Baseball Series
- Friday: vs. Texas, 7 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
- Saturday: vs. Texas, 4 p.m. (SEC Network)
- Sunday: vs. Texas, 1:30 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)
This story was originally published March 8, 2022 6:54 p.m.