After two games with lots of offensive production, the Gamecocks fell off a bit on Sunday, struggling to come up with clutch hits and failing to pull off the sweep against No. 4 Ole Miss.
The Rebels got on the board first, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a pair of homers. That score held until the third inning, when South Carolina tied things up. Jacob Olson singled to start things off, Hunter Taylor made it to first on a fielder’s choice, and Madison Stokes knocked a two-out, two-run single to make the score 2-2.
Ole Miss regained the lead in the top of the fifth on another homer, going up 3-2. The Gamecocks tied the game again in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Stokes and Jonah Bride singled and Justin Row got hit to load the bases. LT Tolbert walked to force in a run, tying the score at 3-3. Unfortunately, USC wasn’t able to take more advantage of the bases loaded situation and left them packed.
The Gamecocks took their first lead of the day in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to home runs from Taylor and Carlos Cortes, making the score 5-3. The Rebels pulled within one in the seventh inning when an RBI sac fly made it 5-4, then it was their turn to tie the game in the eighth inning, courtesy of yet another solo home run that knotted the score at 5-5.
Neither team scored in the ninth inning, forcing a 10th, in which Ole Miss scored the final run of the game on an RBI sac fly.
Starter Cody Morris worked 3.1 innings and gave up six hits and two runs. He walked two batters and struck out five. Eddy Demurias, Sawyer Bridges, and Ridge Chapman combined to go the rest of the way, and Bridges took the loss, dropping him to 2-1 on the season.
Even though the loss was a bummer, USC has won three consecutive series against ranked SEC teams, something not too many people, if anyone, could have predicted based on how the team looked earlier this season. They now have a clear path to the postseason - if they can stay on the right side of the win-loss record going forward - and it’s clear that this team has grown in the second half of the season. They’re far from perfect, but progress has been made, and that’s encouraging.
South Carolina is now 28-19 overall and 13-11 in the SEC, while Ole Miss improves to 36-13 overall and 13-11 in conference play. The Gamecocks will be back in action on Wednesday, when they take on College of Charleston. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.