The opening game of this weekend’s series against Florida had everything - the good, the bad, the what-the-heck-was-that - and after more than five hours of play, it ended with the Gamecocks celebrating a wild walkoff win.
The Gators got on the board early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an two-run single by Hunter McMullen. That lead was short-lived though, as South Carolina answered in the next inning. David Mendham doubled to start things off, Andrew Eyster knocked a base hit, and Jeff Heinrich came through with an RBI single to make it a 2-1 game. Colin Burgess followed with a single, then with two outs, Braylen Wimmer singled to bring in two runs and Josiah Sightler contributed a base hit to bring in another, putting the home team up 4-2.
Florida got one run back in the third on a Jordan Butler RBI sac fly that made the score 4-3, then the Gators took the lead in the fifth on a two-run single from Sterlin Thompson, putting them on top 5-4. UF tacked on another run in the next inning courtesy of a Nathan Hickey RBI sac fly, making it a 6-4 game. Both teams scored in the seventh. In the top of the inning, the Gators made the score 7-4 courtesy of a Jacob Young RBI single. In the bottom of the inning, Wimmer doubled to lead off, then scored on an RBI double by Josiah Sightler, and Sightler later came home thanks to an RBI single by Eyster, making it 7-6.
USC tied the game in the eighth, when Burgess knocked a base hit and then scored on a Wimmer RBI double. The 7-7 score held all the way until the 14th (!!!) inning, when both teams scored again. In the top of the inning, Florida regained a one-run lead on a solo shot by Hickey that made it 8-7. The bottom of the inning was time for walkoff magic, and the Cocks delivered, as Eyster went yard with two outs to tie the game again, then Heinrich singled and scored on an RBI double from Burgess.
Carolina starter Thomas Farr struggled in his outing today, working 4.1 innings and giving up four hits and five runs while walking six batters and striking six out. Jack Mahoney, Daniel Lloyd, Andrew Peters, and Julian Bosnic combined to go the rest of the way for the Gamecocks, and Peters in particular was tremendous, especially given that he pitched for much longer than he usually does. Bosnic got the win and is now 2-1. Gators reliever Ben Specht took the loss and drops to 0-1. Wimmer, Eyster, and Burgess each tallied four hits, while Wimmer led the way with three RBI. Defensively, this game featured an incredible catch by Brady Allen:
With the win, USC improves to 14-6 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, while UF is now 16-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The second game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m., and Brannon Jordan will start on the mound for the Cocks.