South Carolina got off to a hot start but missed chances to build a big early lead against Florida on Friday night and couldn’t recover from losing the lead, dropping the first game in the Super Regional 5-4.
The Gamecocks got on the board early, going up 1-0 in the first inning when Will McGillis hit a leadoff homer. Braylen Wimmer followed with a single, Cole Messina knocked a base hit with one out, and Gavin Casas singled with two outs to bring Wimmer in and make it 2-0. The Gators answered in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at 2-2 on a home run by Josh Rivera.
USC regained the lead in the next inning, after Dylan Brewer singled to start things off and later scored on a base hit by McGillis to make it a 3-2 game. That score held until the fifth, when UF again tied it up again on a solo shot by Tyler Shelnut, making it 3-3. The Gators took the lead for good in the sixth, going up 4-3 when BT Riopelle went yard. Their final run of the game came in the eighth on a single by Shelnut that made it 5-3. The Cocks scored the game’s final run in the ninth on another McGillis homer.
Carolina starter James Hicks worked five innings and allowed six hits and three runs. He didn’t walk any batters and struck two out. Will Sanders and Nick Proctor combined to go the rest of the way for the Gamecocks, and Sanders took the loss, making him 4-4. Florida starter Brandon Sproat pitched six innings and gave up nine hits and three runs. He also issued two walks and struck out seven batters, and he earned the win and is now 8-3.
McGillis paced USC at the plate with hits, and he also recorded three RBI. Four Gators had two hits each, while Rivera and Shelnut tallied two RBI apiece.
The Cocks are now 41-19, while UF is 45-14. They’ll meet again on Saturday, with South Carolina needing to win to stay alive. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Gainesville.