No. 13 South Carolina took none of the momentum from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader into the second, falling 12-1 to No. 18 Tennessee and dropping the series to end the regular season.
The game was scoreless until the fourth, when the Volunteers took a 4-0 lead thanks to a Zane Denton single, an error, and a double by Maui Ahuna. The Gamecocks’ only run of the game came in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff solo shot by Cole Messina that made it 4-1. Tennessee got that run back in the fifth on a homer by Griffin Merritt that made the score 5-1, then bumped the lead to 6-1 in the sixth on a Cal Stark home run. The Vols broke the game even wider open in the seventh, doubling their run total courtesy of a Denton fly out, Christian Scott going yard, and a pair of bases-loaded walks.
USC starter Matthew Becker pitched four innings and allowed four hits and four runs. He also walked three batters, struck three out, and took the loss, making him 4-3. James Hicks, Wesley Sweatt, Sam Simpson, and Austin Williamson combined to go the rest of the way for the Cocks. Tennessee starter Drew Beam worked six innings and gave up five hits and one run. He also issued two walks, struck out four batters, and got the win, making him 7-4.
Ethan Petry led Carolina at the plate with two hits, while Messina tallied the only RBI. Merritt paced the Volunteers with two hits, while Scott recorded four RBI.
The Gamecocks finish the regular season 38-17 overall and 16-13 in conference play, while Tennessee finishes 38-18 on the season and 16-14 in the SEC. USC will be back in action on Tuesday in the SEC Tournament, where they’ll be the 6 seed and take on 11-seeded Georgia. The game is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.