Things looked promising for a moment as Hopkins started the game off with a hit, but things quickly went off the rails for the Gamecocks. They stranded two runners in the top of the first, then gave up 4 runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Gamecocks got two back on an LT Tolbert home run in the top of the second, but that was high point of the night for South Carolina. They stayed within striking distance through the first three innings, but North Carolina put up 6 runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 12-3. The Tar Heels had another big inning in the bottom of the seventh, adding 7 more runs and extending their lead to 20-4.
The two bright spots for the Gamecocks tonight were LT Tolbert, who was responsible for the majority of South Carolina’s runs with 3 RBI, and Tyler Johnson, who returned from injury and got three outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Gamecock offense had a good number of hits, but couldn’t string enough together to ever get back in the game.
The offense was not the problem for the Gamecocks though, as the pitching staff had a complete meltdown. South Carolina used 10 pitchers and every pitcher except Josh Reagan and Tyler Johnson allowed at least one earned run. The pitching staff walked 10 batters and hit two and (with the exception of Reagan and Johnson) even the pitchers that lasted more than a couple of outs never quite looked comfortable.
This will be a tough game for the team to put behind them, but the Gamecocks will try to bounce back this weekend as they host Mississippi State. The first game of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday.