No. 23 South Carolina didn’t mess around on Saturday, and a combination of early offensive productivity and strong pitching propelled them to their fifth-straight SEC series win.
The Gamecocks got out to an early lead, going up 4-0 in the top of the first inning. Noah Campbell belted a leadoff homer, Carlos Cortes walked, Madison Stokes went yard, then with two outs, LT Tolbert doubled and came home on an RBI single by Jacob Olson. The Aggies got on the board in the bottom of the inning with an unearned run that made the score 4-1.
USC tacked on four more runs in the third inning. Tolbert started things off with a base hit, Olson doubled with one out, and Matt Williams got hit to load the bases. Campbell got hit to force in a run and put the Gamecocks up 5-1, then Cortes followed with a double to bring in two more runs and make it 7-1, and Stokes came through with a sac fly to bump the score to 8-1.
The final two runs of the game came in the seventh inning. Olson and Williams singled with one out, both advanced on a wild pitch, and then a combination of TJ Hopkins single and an error brought them both home.
Starter Cody Morris had a great outing, working seven innings and allowing just five hits and one run. He didn’t walk any batters and struck out seven. Morris earned the win and finishes the regular season with a 7-3 record. Sawyer Bridges also pitched in this game.
With the win, South Carolina finishes the regular season 32-22 overall and 17-13 in the SEC, while Texas A&M finishes 36-19 overall and 13-17 in conference play. Considering where this Gamecocks team started the season and how bleak things looked at times, it’s a testament to the players and coaching staff that they won’t finish any lower than fifth in the SEC and are almost certainly in the NCAA Tournament. The midweek losses and some of the early conference losses were certainly no fun, but this team could have folded when things got tough, and instead fought back to end the regular season with momentum and a lot of positivity. The Gamecocks will now await their seeding in the SEC Tournament and will play either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on whether or not they’re seeded high enough to get a bye.