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No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 13 Florida, game 3 recap: Gators defeat Gamecocks 6-5

The Gamecocks dropped their second-straight SEC series with a loss to the Gators today.

Harry How

It wasn't the patchwork lineup South Carolina had to field today that caused problems, it was their overall lack of making plays that did them in.

The Gamecocks were first to score, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single from Taylor Widener. They had a chance to do some real damage in the next inning, but left the bases loaded instead (that needs to stop happening).

That turned out to be especially unfortunate, because the Gators scored twice in the third inning, thanks to RBI singles from Taylor Gushue and Braden Mattson.

USC managed to tie things up in the fifth inning, though. Grayson Greiner roped a one-out double, then came home when Patrick Harrington recorded the first RBI of his career, knotting the score at 2-2.

The Gamecocks broke the tie in the seventh inning, scoring twice to take a 4-2 lead. Kyle Martin got things going with a double, then moved to third on a balk. Greiner came through with an RBI sac fly, Taylor Widener was safe thanks to an error, and Harrington walked to set things up fro DC Arendas, who knocked a single up the middle (though it was scored an error, so no RBI for him). Again they had the bases loaded with a chance to break things open, and again, they left them loaded. This really needs to stop happening.

Unfortunately, those stranded runners came back to haunt Carolina, because UF regained the lead in the eighth inning. Gushue, Mattson and A.J. Puk all singled to load the bases with Gators, then an error on Marcus Mooney allowed two runs to score, tying the game. Zack Powers and Buddy Reed each contributed an RBI single, bumping the score up to 6-4. South Carolina managed to not allow any further damage, but they had no answer in either the eighth or ninth innings, so the score held.

I don't know how many runners the Gamecocks stranded this weekend, but it was approximately 526. That needs to stop happening. USC left a whole lot of runs out on the bases, and in these one-run games, getting even one or two of those guys in certainly would have made a difference.

The Gamecocks were without Max Schrock (flu) and Connor Bright (arm, but he played the final two innings), then Joey Pankake left after hurting his leg in the fourth inning. Greiner is also still dealing with that thumb injury, but he's been playing through it.

Carolina starter Wil Crowe worked 7.1 innings and allowed 10 hits, two runs, walked one batter, and struck out four. He took the loss and drops to 6-2. Widener and Vince Fiori also pitched for Carolina today.

Florida starter Danny Young lasted two innings and gave up three hits, one run, issued no walks and tallied one K. Dane Dunning got the win and improves to 1-0; Eric Hanhold earned the save, his second.

Martin had two hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate, while Gushue, Mattson, and Reed all had three for the Gators.

South Carolina falls to 28-7 (8-7 in the SEC), while Florida improves to 23-13 (9-6 in conference play). The Gamecocks will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host Charleston Southern. First pitch is scheduled  for 7 p.m.