I hope you enjoyed that three-game winning streak while it lasted, because South Carolina got blown out by the Gators in the first game of this weekend's series.
The first half of the game wasn't
that bad terrible. I mean, it wasn't good, but compared with the way things went later on, it could've been worse. The Gamecocks got off to a rocky start, loading the bases thanks to a couple of singles from Max Schrock and Elliott Caldwell and a walk by Jordan Gore, but they couldn't cash in. Stop me if you've heard that before.
Florida got on the board in the bottom of the first. With one out, Richie Martin walked, then with two outs, Harrison Bader went yard for the Gators' first run - and homer - of the night. Peter Alonso followed with another walk, Buddy Reed singled, and yet another walk, this time to JJ Schwarz, loaded the bases for Florida. Jeremy Vasquez knocked a two-run double to put his team up 3-0. Almost every Gator came to the plate.
South Carolina got two runs back in the next inning, though. DC Arendas led off with a single, then Gene Cone came through with a two-out base hit to get Arendas home. Schrock followed with a single, and Cone came home on an RBI base hit from Kyle Martin.
The Gamecocks tied things up in the top of the fifth. Schrock and Kyle Martin knocked back-to-back singles again, and Caldwell walked to load the bases. Gore hit into a double play, but it was enough to get Schrock across home plate.
That was pretty much the end of anything good happening for South Carolina. They didn't even get a hit for the remainder of the game.
Everything fell apart in the bottom of the fifth. Christian Hicks led off with a home run. With one out, Richie Martin singled, Bader doubled to get one run in, Alonso singled to bring in another, Reed knocked a base hit to bring yet another runner home, Schwarz contributed an RBI double, Vasquez singled, and Mike Rivera brought in the final run of the inning with a groundout. After all was said and done, Florida had batted around and led 9-3.
They went on to score four more runs, including one on another homer, while the Gamecocks did a whole lot of nothing.
I don't know what happened to the pitching staff - and they're certainly not the only ones at fault - but they've gone from struggling to just bad. After what is apparently an inevitable really bad inning, everything unravels and they can't recover. After the rough first inning, starter Wil Crowe had settled down - and at one point retired 10 Gators in a row - before things went haywire in the fifth. A bunch of other guys also pitched for South Carolina in this game, including Vince Fiori, Cody Mincey, Josh Reagan, Preston Johnson, and Tyler Johnson.
As for the offense...I was encouraged when they fought back from down 3-0 and had clutch hitting and looked like they might finally have figured things out. And then the bottom of the fifth happened, and they might as well have just skipped the top of every inning after that, because the Gamecocks apparently had no offense left in them. Of all the bad tonight, one bright spot was Schrock, who had a good game.
South Carolina drops to 23-12 overall and 6-7 in the SEC, while Florida improves to 26-9 overall and 7-6 in conference play. They'll meet again tomorrow at 6 p.m.