The Gamecocks trailed early in Tuesday night's game, as the Chanticleers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a home run from Connor Owings.
South Carolina rallied for the first time in the third, taking a 2-1 lead. With one out, Max Schrock singled and advanced to second on an error. He came home on another Coastal error, and then Elliott Caldwell followed with an RBI single.
Things got ugly for the Gamecocks in the next inning, though, as South Carolina's pitching staff completely fell apart. Back-to-back walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs, then two more walks brought in two runs. Tyler Chadwick contributed an RBI single, and two more walks forced in two more runs. When all was said and done, it was 6-2 Coastal.
The Gamecocks rallied again in the fifth inning, cutting the Chanticleers' lead to 6-4. Schrock led off with a single, Caldwell walked with one out, and a two-out RBI single from Connor Bright brought in one run. Coastal's pitcher was called for two balks in the inning, and the second brought home South Carolina's second run of the inning.
The next inning saw the Gamecocks rally some more, putting them back on top. Logan Koch started things off with a single, Jordan Gore walked, and an error got Caldwell to first, loading the bases with no outs. Schrock came through with an RBI single, followed by an RBI double off the bat of Kyle Martin, which tied the game. Caldwell chipped in with a sac fly that brought in another run, and a wild pitch got one more runner across the plate, making it 8-6.
The Chanticleers answered in the eighth inning, though, tying the game again. Zach Remillard singled, Casey Schroeder doubled, and David Parrett hit an sac fly to get one run in. A wild pitch brought Schroeder home. The 8-8 score lasted until the bottom of the 11th inning, when Owings singled to win the game for Coastal.
South Carolina starter Josh Reagan worked into the fourth inning, before being replaced by Matthew Vogel, who was replaced shortly after by John Parke, who was then replaced by Reed Scott. He did a really, really good job, and retired 12 straight batters before giving up a single in the eighth inning. Scott was replaced by Cody Mincey, who was replaced by Taylor Widener in the ninth inning. Widener pitched into the 11th inning before being lifted for Vince Fiori.
Whatever happened to the pitchers in the fourth inning was bad news, and pretty uncharacteristic of how they've performed so far this season. The offense fortunately/surprisingly bailed them out today, but that inning was hopefully just an anomaly, not a sign that the bullpen is in trouble.
The Gamecocks have now lost four of their last five games, and three of those losses came in extra innings. Despite scoring eight runs tonight, the offense was inconsistent overall, getting hot in a couple of innings but looking largely unimpressive in the rest. It's kind of hard to fathom how a team that seems like it should have enough offensive firepower to win close games repeatedly loses them, but it's becoming a disturbing trend this season.
South Carolina drops to 18-7, while Coastal Carolina improves to 18-6. The Gamecocks will be back in action this weekend when they host Georgia. First pitch in Friday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium.