After not having played for almost a week due to weather getting in the way, the Gamecocks started off SEC play on the right foot Friday night against the Vols.
Both teams were pretty quiet offensively in the first two innings, but South Carolina put an end to that in the third. Jacob Olson led off with a single, LT Tolbert followed with a double, and Danny Blair walked to load the bases. TJ Hopkins followed with an RBI single to get the Gamecocks on the board, but unfortunately one run was all they could muster in that inning.
The 1-0 score held until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Tennessee tied things up. The tie didn’t last long, though, as South Carolina responded in the next inning. With one out, Jonah Bride doubled, Madison Stokes singled, and Olson came through with a three-run homer to put the Gamecocks up 4-1. They threatened to do more damage, but ended up leaving two runners stranded instead.
South Carolina did tack on a few more insurance runs in the eighth inning, though. Chris Cullen went yard with one out to make it 5-1, then Bride doubled and so did Stokes, bringing in another run. Tolbert knocked a base hit with two outs to bring in the Gamecocks’ final run of the game.
Starting pitcher Adam Hill didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he got the job done all the same. He worked six innings and threw 108 pitches, but only gave up six hits and one run. He earned the win, his first of the season. Reed Scott went the rest of the way for South Carolina and got the save, his second this year.
After some recent showings by the offense that were...less than ideal, it was good to see production across the lineup tonight. Every batter had at least one hit and they had 15 total. Now the question remains as to whether this was just one good performance or if the Gamecocks can build up some consistency offensively.
With the win, South Carolina improves to 12-5 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while Tennessee drops to 12-3 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. They’ll meet again tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. in Knoxville. Wil Crowe will be the Gamecocks’ starting pitcher.