CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coming into Tuesday's game against North Carolina, the South Carolina Gamecocks had been outscored by the Tar Heels 46-8 over the last three seasons.
They exorcised some of those demons in Tuesday's game in Charlotte.
South Carolina used exceptional pitching and the offense did enough to beat No. 17 North Carolina 5-2 and give the Gamecocks their second top 25 win this season in the Queen City.
Against a North Carolina team slashing .274/404/.457 at the plate and averaging more than 7 runs per game, the Gamecocks held the Tar Heels to just 2 runs on 3 hits and struck out 14 batters.
After Daniel Lloyd started the game with two shutout frames, pitching around four base runners over the first two innings, Dylan Harley (2-2, 8.90 ERA) came in and looked as good as he has all season in relief.
He retired the first 10 batters he faced, striking out the side in his first inning and compiling six total over 3-and-1-third innings. He gave up one hit, a two-run homer to Michael Busch, and walked just one batter.
It's the fewest runs he's given up in relief since allowing one against Tennessee on March 24.
South Carolina jumped out to a quick lead, plating a run on a Brady Allen RBI-double in the second inning on a rocket of a ball that looked like it could clear the center field fence, but careened just off the top of the wall.
T.J. Hopkins drove in another run on a RBI single before the Gamecocks (22-15, 4-11 SEC) earned two in the fourth inning on an Andrew Eyster solo home run and a Quinntin Perez sacrifice fly to drive home Chris Cullen, who doubled.
For Eyster, it was his sixth home run of the season and first against a Power 5 team since March 16 against Georgia. He had one last week against Charlotte at home.
After Harley gave up the two runs, the Gamecocks immediately earned one back with Hopkins blasting a homer to left field, putting him in sole possession of second on the team in home run totals, three behind Jacob Olson.
John Gilreath tossed three perfect innings, striking out three with 14 of his 18 pitches going for strikes. Over his last three outings (five innings), he's given up just one run on two hits and one walk while striking out six.
Brett Kerry came in after a one-out single in the ninth and retired the next two batters for his fourth save of the year.
Player of the game: Despite giving up the home run, Dylan Harley looked as good as he has all season. He struck out six in 3-and-1-third innings and retired the first 10 he faced.
Key moment: After Harley gave up those runs in the sixth inning, Gage Hinson came in and put a runner on with two outs, but struck out the next batter to end the threat.
Up next: South Carolina returns home for its only home series in April, starting a three-game set with Texas A&M on Thursday. First pitch from Founders Park is scheduled for 7 p.m.