I don't know what's happened to the Gamecocks (I mean, besides injuries), but a messy performance tonight in Charleston led to them dropping their second-straight midweek game against an in-state opponent, something that hadn't happened for 30 years.
The Citadel got on the board with a 1-0 lead in the first inning, courtesy of an RBI single from Tyler Griffin. That lead was short-lived, though, because USC tied the game in the top of the second, when DC Arendas went yard with two outs.
The Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead an inning later, when Tanner English got credited with stealing home (did you know he's fast?). Unfortunately, things went...less than well in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back singles started things off, the runners advanced on a sac bunt, and then a walk packed the bases with Bulldogs. Another walk tied the game, then another walk brought in another run, to give The Citadel the lead. Then came, sigh, a two-out, two-RBI hit, because English seemed to lose the ball in the lights. That made it 5-2 in favor of the home team.
The Bulldogs added another run in the fourth inning, thanks to a sac fly RBI from Mason Davis.
Carolina fought back in the top of the fifth, though. Gene Cone and Elliott Caldwell walked with one out, then Kyle Martin doubled to bring them both home. Grayson Greiner contributed a sac fly to make it 6-5, and suddenly the Gamecocks were right back in it.
The Citadel tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning, one of which was a homer by Drew DeKerlegand. Again, though South Carolina answered. Brison Celek belted a home run to start the sixth inning, and Cone later collected an RBI sac fly, making the score 8-7 in favor of the home team.
The Bulldogs scored their final two runs of the night in the seventh inning. Davis homered and Griffin knocked an RBI double, putting them on top 10-7. The Gamecocks had one more run left, and it came in the eighth inning, thanks to an error by the Citadel.
USC starter Matt Vogel, making his first collegiate start, worked 2.1 innings and allowed three hits, five runs, walked two batters, and struck out two. He took the loss and drops to 0-1. Vince Fiori (who left with an injury), Curt Britt, Josh Reagan, Taylor Widener, Hunter Privette, and Cody Mincey all took the mound for the Gamecocks tonight.
Austin Livingston, The Citadel's starter, worked five innings and gave up three hits, five runs, issued four walks, and tallied eight K's. He earned the win and improves to 2-4. Skylar Hunter got the save, his seventh of the season.
Martin and Celek each had two hits to lead Carolina, while Davis had three to lead the Bulldogs. Max Schrock was back in the lineup tonight, but left the game early and Coach Holbrook said in his postgame comments that Schrock could be out for the rest of the season with a back injury. Let's all hope he heals up.
South Carolina drops to 28-9, while The Citadel is now 15-23. The Gamecocks will be back in action this weekend, when they return to SEC play with a series at Auburn. Friday night's game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.