After a fantastic weekend series in Oxford that saw South Carolina dominate Ole Miss pretty much completely, the Gamecocks fell flat for the most part against College of Charleston in Columbia tonight.
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but South Carolina tied things up in the third. LT Tolbert led things off by making it to first base on an error, then Alex Destino came through with a one-out RBI double to get Tolbert home.
College of Charleston regained the lead in the next inning, though, scoring two more runs to make the score 3-1. They tacked on another in the fifth inning, increasing their lead to three runs.
The Gamecocks scored again in the sixth inning, making it 4-2. After noted baseball magnet Jonah Bride got plunked with one out, Chris Cullen singled and DC Arendas followed with an RBI groundout. South Carolina made things interesting in the ninth, rallying to tie the game and force extras.
Marcus Mooney started things off with a double, Cone singled after an at-bat that took an hour, and Tolbert hit into what should have been a double play but wasn't, bringing the Gamecocks within one run. With two outs, Destino came through with a ground rule double to tie the game at 4-4. South Carolina rushed the field, thinking they'd won, but no such luck.
The tenth inning was quiet for both teams, as was the 11th, but both teams made noise in the 12th. The Cougars regained the lead in the top of the inning, thanks to a home run. The Gamecocks tied the game again in the bottom of the inning, though. Jonah Bride walked, Clark Scolamiero pinch ran for him and stole second, and an error got Cullen on base and Scolamiero home, tying things up at 5-5.
College of Charleston regained the lead for the final time in the top of the 13th on an unfortunate play in which relief pitcher Canaan Cropper threw the ball to first instead of home.
Unlike the games played in Oxford this past weekend, tonight's game was played pretty sloppily by the Gamecocks, who tallied three errors and made a handful of other mistakes. Until late in the game, they also lacked the clutch hits from the Ole Miss series, and they were low on any kind of hits, really.
Starting pitcher Tyler Haswell did a nice job, keeping South Carolina in the game when they trailed early. The Gamecocks used a number of guys on the mound tonight, with Matt Vogel, Brandon Murray, Tyler Johnson, Taylor Widener, Josh Reagan, Vince Fiori, and Cropper all making appearances. Like the offense and defense, the pitching was also a bit off for the majority of the game. All of that combined for what was really just a poorly played (and boring) baseball game, until the late rally. Despite the defensive miscues, Cone and Arendas did make some nice plays in the field tonight.
South Carolina is now 23-3 overall (6-0 in the SEC), while College of Charleston improves to 18-7 overall. The Gamecocks will be back in action on Thursday, when they travel to Nashville for a series against Vanderbilt. First pitch is set for 8 p.m. EDT.