SEC play got underway on Friday with the first game between the Gamecocks and the No. 2 Gators, and it had all the wildness you might expect from a conference matchup, including the injections of Carlos Cortes and Coach Mark Kingston.
South Carolina got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning when TJ Hopkins got hit and LT Tolbert brought him home with a two-out RBI single.
Florida ended the shutout in the fourth inning, going up 2-1 on a one-out single. They added another run in the fifth inning thanks to another base hit, then tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning courtesy of a two-out double to make the score 5-1.
The Gamecocks finally scored again in the seventh inning, when Chris Cullen went yard to make it 5-2. USC scored their final run of the game in the eighth inning, after Madison Stokes led off with a double and Jonah Bride brought him home with a base hit to make the score 5-3. Unfortunately, a two-run homer in the ninth gave the Gators a little more insurance, and the Gamecocks were unable to respond.
Starter Adam Hill had a rockier outing than his past few, working 4.2 innings and giving up three hits and three runs. He walked five batters and struck out six. TJ Shook, Parker Coyne, and Graham Lawson also pitched in this game. Hill took the loss and is now 2-2.
The ejections of Kingston and Cortes were both somewhat questionable, as Kingston was apparently removed for making a seemingly innocuous comment and Cortes got tossed for getting mad after a strikeout. Both teams also received warnings in the first inning after UF starter Brady Singer hit Hopkins in the ribs and words and dirty looks were exchanged.
The loss brings South Carolina’s five-game winning streak to an end, and they’re now 12-6 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Florida is now 17-3 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. They’ll meet again on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. at Founder’s Park. Cody Morris will start on the mound for the Gamecocks.