Remember the days when the Gamecocks were going on multigame winning streaks and blowing out their opponents? Those were the days. Unfortunately, USC was the team getting blown out tonight, as they dropped the opening game in the series against Tennessee, keeping them 0-fer in conference play.
The Volunteers took an early lead, going up 3-0 in the first inning on an RBI double by Alerick Soularie, a Pete Derkay RBI groundout, and another RBI double from Ricky Martinez. On top of that, Andrew Eyster was injured on a play in the field and had to leave the game. He was replaced by Joel Brewer, who did a good job filling in, but it was a double whammy of unfortunate events as the first run of the game scored on the play Eyster got hurt on.
The Gamecocks ended the shutout in the top of the next inning, courtesy of a Jacob Olson leadoff homer that made the score 3-1. Tennessee answered by scoring two more runs in the bottom of the inning on a throwing error and an RBI single from Andre Lipcius, making it a 5-1 game.
South Carolina got the two runs back in the third inning, though. Brady Allen started things off by going yard, the Noah Campbell doubled with two outs, TJ Hopkins reached on an error, and Campbell came home on a wild pitch to make the score 5-3.
The Vols tacked on several more insurance runs in the fourth on a fielder’s choice by Lipcius, another RBI double from Soularie, and a Zach Daniels RBI base hit that put Tennessee on top 8-3.
The Gamecocks looked like they might be able to get back into the game in the top of the sixth inning, after Luke Berryhill worked a leadoff walk, Brewer knocked a base hit, and Cullen singled to load the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, USC got just one run out of the situation, when George Callil hit into a fielder’s choice to make the score 8-4. Four more Volunteers runs came in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of a two-run single by Jake Rucker, an RBI base hit from Martinez, and a Landon Gray RBI triple, putting the home team up 12-4.
Tennessee got a two-run homer from Lipcius in the next inning to make the score 14-4, and their final run came on a solo shot by Gray in the eighth. The Gamecocks scored one more time in the ninth inning on a home run by Ian Jenkins.
South Carolina starter Wesley Sweatt worked 3.1 innings and allowed 10 hits and eight runs. He walked two batters and didn’t strike any out. Sweatt took the loss and is now 1-2. John Gilreath and Parker Coyne also pitched in this game. Vols starter Garrett Stallings got the win and is now 5-1.
The Gamecocks drop to 15-7 overall and 0-4 in the SEC, while Tennessee improves to 19-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Saturday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. in Knoxville.