Ouch. South Carolina looked poised to lock down a major win tonight, but Florida rallied in the ninth to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat instead.
The Gamecocks were first on the board, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning after John Jones walked with two outs and Alex Destino belted a home run.
Both teams were pretty quiet in the second, third, and fourth innings, but South Carolina added a run in the fifth, courtesy of a solo shot by Chris Cullen. They got the bases loaded with one out thanks to a walk and singles from Marcus Mooney and Dom Thompson-Williams and could've broken the game wide open, but instead left the bases loaded. Sigh.
The Gators woke up in the sixth inning, pulling within one run thanks to a two-run homer by JJ Schwarz. South Carolina got one run back in the bottom of the inning, though. Jonah Bride led off with a double, Madison Stokes laid down a nice sac bunt, and Cullen brought Bride home with an RBI double.
Florida added a run in the next inning, thanks to an RBI base hit by Jeremy Vasquez after LT Tolbert made an error. Gene Cone extended his school-record hitting streak to 28 games in the seventh inning, and the Gamecocks clung to their 4-3 lead until the top of the ninth, when the Gators belted two home runs to take the lead. South Carolina had no answer in the bottom of the inning. Tolbert led off with a single, but Mooney hit into a double play, and DTW almost homered, but the ball was caught at the wall instead.
Starter Clarke Schmidt had another good performance, working 6.1 innings and giving up five hits, three runs, walking two batters, and striking out six. He was replaced by Tyler Johnson, who had a very strong outing, but was pulled for Josh Reagan in the ninth. Reagan unfortunately didn't have so great a night, giving up the two homers. While he was put in because he's the closer with a great ERA, Johnson was dealing, and probably could've pitched the ninth instead. Alas, it is what it is.
South Carolina is now 33-9 overall and 14-5 in the SEC, while Florida improves to 37-6 overall and 14-5 in conference play. They'll meet again tomorrow, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. Braden Webb will start on the mound for the Gamecocks.