South Carolina got off to a lackluster start in the final series of the regular season, falling to Florida 14-5 on Thursday night.
The Gators took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first on a solo shot by Wyatt Langford. The Gamecocks ended the shutout in the third, taking a 2-1 lead after Colin Burgess and Kevin Madden each got hit by a pitch and Josiah Sightler walked to load the bases. Andrew Eyster then came through with a double to bring Burgess and Madden home. UF tied the game in the bottom of the inning though, making it 2-2 on a Jud Fabian double.
The tie only lasted until the next inning, when the Gators regained the lead thanks to a leadoff homer from Ty Evans that made the score 3-2 and a Sterlin Thompson fly out that bumped it to 4-2. The Cocks got those two runs back in the fifth, though. Sightler got hit by a pitch with two outs, then scored on an error to make it a 4-3 game. Eyster was safe at first on that error and he later came home on a double by Braylen Wimmer, knotting the score at 4-4.
Florida regained the lead again, this time for good, in the fifth. A base hit from Jac Caglianone made it 5-4, then Evans flied and Kris Armstrong both brought in runs via fly outs to make the score 7-4. The Gators added two more in the seventh, making it a 9-4 game thanks to a homer by Caglianone.
UF broke things even more wide open in the eighth, scoring five runs courtesy of another solo shot by Langford, base hits by Evans and Armstrong, and a Colby Halter double to take a 14-4 lead. USC’s final run of the game came in the ninth when pinch hitter Jack Mahoney went yard.
Gamecocks starter Brett Thomas worked three innings and gave up seven hits and four runs. He also walked two batters and struck out five. John Gilreath, CJ Weins, and Aidan Hunter combined to go the rest of the way for Carolina, and Gilreath took the loss, making him 0-3. Gators starter Brandon Sproat pitched 6.1 innings and allowed four hits and four runs. He walked three batters, struck three out, and earned the win, making him 8-4. Five different players tallied a hit for the Cocks, while Eyster led them with two RBI. Halter paced Florida at the plate with three hits, while Evans tallied four RBI.
USC is now 26-26 overall and 12-16 in the SEC, while the Gators are 34-19 overall and 14-14 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Friday night, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.