Finally, our long national nightmare is over: South Carolina is no longer winless in conference play. For all the runs scored in the first game of the series (mostly by Tennessee), Saturday night’s game barely featured any offense, but the Gamecocks did just enough to come away with a victory and set up a rubber game on Sunday.
Both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Volunteers took a 1-0 lead on a Max Ferguson RBI single. Tennessee added their second run of the night in the next inning on an RBI single from Alerick Soularie.
USC finally got on the board in the seventh inning, tying the game and taking the lead. TJ Hopkins singled with one out, Jacob Olson got hit by a pitch, and then they double stole to get in scoring position. That was good, because with two outs, Chris Cullen came through with a double that brought both runners in, making the score 2-2. Jordan Holladay followed with an RBI double of his own, scoring Cullen and putting the Gamecocks on top. The Vols made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth with two on and two outs, but fortunately they were unable to take advantage of the situation.
South Carolina starter Reid Morgan had another solid outing, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing five hits and two runs. He walked one batter and struck four out. Cam Tringali and Brett Kerry combined to go the rest of the way and both did a great job, with Tringali getting the win, making him 1-0, and Kerry earning the save, his third of the season. Tennessee starter Zach Linginfelter took the loss and is now 4-2.
The Gamecocks improve to 16-7 overall and 1-4 in the SEC, while the Volunteers are now 19-5 overall and 1-5 in conference play. The rubber game is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday in Knoxville.