ATHENS, GA. (USC SID) – Georgia hit four solo home runs including a pair of back-to-back homers in the eighth inning by Daniel Nichols and Stephen Wrenn on the way to a 5-3 victory over second-ranked South Carolina in the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseball series. The Gamecocks are now 29-8 and 11-4 in the SEC, tied for first place with Florida. Georgia moves to 20-17 and 6-9 in league play.
Tied at 3-3 entering the bottom of the eighth, Nichols lifted a 2-2 pitch that just cleared the right field wall to give Georgia a one-run lead. Wrenn followed with a solo homer over the left field wall that put Georgia ahead 5-3.
Georgia reliever Drew Moody hurled three scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win. He is 1-3 on the year. South Carolina left-hander Josh Reagan suffered the loss and is now 1-1 for the season. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1.2 innings. He has allowed just three runs on the year.
South Carolina struck for a run in the top of the first inning. Gene Cone led off with a walk followed by a single to center field by Jonah Bride. John Jones would then deliver as he knocked a 2-1 pitch into left field for a RBI single.
Georgia tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning. LJ Talley reached base on a two-out single and scored on a double from Mitchell Webb into the gap in right-center just out of the reach of a diving Dom Thompson-Williams.
Carolina regained the lead in the third inning. Gene Cone singled to open the frame and scored on Alex Destino’s RBI double over the head of Georgia right fielder Skyler Weber. The Bulldogs would tie it at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out solo homer to right field off the bat of Weber, his second homer of the year.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh inning. Cone led off the frame with a single and scored on a two-out RBI single by Destino to center field. It was Destino’s second RBI of the afternoon. Webb would drive in his second run of the day in the bottom half of the seventh with a solo homer to right field, his second homer of the year.
The back-to-back homers in the eighth inning gave Georgia a two-run win.
Georgia won despite being out-hit 9-8 on the back of four solo homers.
Gene Cone extended his hitting streak to 23 games with the third inning base hit. Cone has also reached base in 26 straight contests.
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill worked five-plus innings and allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in the start for Carolina.
Cone went 2-for-4 with three runs scored to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Bride was 2-for-4 and Destino 2-for-4 with two RBI as well.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
It was a disappointing loss. We really couldn’t get any separation. We felt like we were in good position to win the game. I have no problem with my team with the way they played, battled and competed. I thought we competed real hard, battled real hard. We made a couple of mistakes. Getting thrown out at third base in the first inning was a critical error and not keeping the ball in front of (us) in the outfield was a critical mistake too. Both of them were effort plays, trying to make something happen. We just couldn’t keep the ball in the park. Other then that we played pretty well. We just came out on the short end of the stick.
South Carolina returns to action on Wednesday night vs. Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. First pitch is 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”