No. 6 South Carolina only needed seven innings to trounce No. 3 Florida on Thursday night, opening up the series with a 13-3 run rule victory.
The Gators took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first when Luke Heyman hit a fly out with the bases loaded. The Gamecocks answered in the bottom of the game, tying it at 1-1 on a two-out solo shot by Ethan Petry. UF regained the lead in the next inning, making it a 2-1 game when a run scored on an error. Again USC responded in the bottom of the inning, tying the game back up at 2-2 after Gavin Casas started things off with a walk and later scored when Carson Hornung grounded out.
The Cocks took the lead in the fourth, making the score 3-2 when Evan Stone hit a fly out with the bases loaded. It was the Gators’ turn to tie things up after that, making it 3-3 in the sixth thanks to a Colby Halter triple. After that, it was all Carolina. The Gamecocks took back the lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a total of five runs to make it an 8-3 game. Michael Braswell doubled with two outs, then Hornung and Stone walked to load the bases again. Will Tippett, Dylan Brewer, and Braylen Wimmer also walked, forcing in three runs. Petry then singled to bring in two more.
USC added five more runs in the seventh, breaking the game even more wide open. Casas walked to start things off, then scored on a double by Braswell to make it 9-3. With one out, Stone got hit by a pitch, then an error allowed Tippett to get to first and Stone and Braswell to come home, pushing the score to 11-3. Wimmer got plunked with two outs, Petry knocked a base hit, then Cole Messina hit a double to bring them both in and end the game.
Cocks starter Will Sanders worked six innings and allowed three hits and three runs. He walked three batters, struck out 10, and got the win, making him 4-1. James Hicks also pitched in this game. Florida starter Brandon Sproat went 5.2 innings and gave up four hits and four runs. He issued three walks, struck eight batters, out, and took the loss, making him 5-2.
Petry and Braswell had three hits apiece to lead South Carolina at the plate, and Petry also tallied three RBI. Four different Gators had one hit each, and Heyman and Halter each recorded an RBI.
The Gamecocks are now 32-6 overall and 11-4 in the SEC, while UF is 31-8 on the season and 11-5 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. at Founders Park. Jack Mahoney is set to start on the mound for the home team.