KNOXVILLE, TENN. (USC SID) – A seven-run fifth inning that featured eight hits helped lift seventh ranked South Carolina to a 10-2 win over 24th ranked Tennessee to sweep a three-game SEC series. The Gamecocks are now 14-5 and 3-0 in league play and own a seven-game winning streak. Tennessee drops to 12-5 and 0-3 in league play.
Carolina sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth inning and broke open a one-run game to go ahead by eight against the Volunteers. The Gamecocks loaded the bases with no outs on a double from Madison Stokes, a single by Hunter Taylor and a base hit from Danny Blair. Singles from Matt Williams and Jonah Bride followed to score both Stokes and Taylor. A double down the right field line by Alex Destino would score a pair of runs. Tolbert drove in a pair of runs with a two-out RBI single and Taylor added a RBI single in his second at bat of the inning. The Volunteers would get a run in the bottom of the fifth. Destino’s solo homer in the eighth inning, his fourth of the season gave Carolina the 10-2 lead.
Gamecock freshman right-hander Colby Lee earned his first career win in relief. He pitched four scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and struck out five. He is 1-0 on the year. Tennessee starter Will Neely took the loss and is 1-1 on the season. He allowed five runs, three earned, on six hits in four-plus innings with two strikeouts.
Madison Stokes gave Carolina a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning with his third home run of the season. After LT Tolbert reached base with two outs on shortstop Max Bartlett’s throwing error, Stokes launched a homer to left field to give the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.
Tennessee would get a run back in the bottom of the second inning. Max Bartlett drove in Tennessee’s run with a one-out single to left field scoring Pete Derkay. Cody Morris limited the damage in the inning though as he induced a 6-4-3 double play with runners on first and second to keep Carolina ahead by a run.
The seven-run fifth inning broke open a one-run contest.
South Carolina out-hit Tennessee 14-6 with five extra base hits. Both Stokes and Destino both homered and doubled as well. Eight of nine Gamecock starters had at least one hit.
– Freshman right-hander Cody Morris made his first start in SEC play and the second start of his career. Morris allowed just one run on three hits in 3.2 innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
– Matt Williams tied a career-high with three hits. He was 3-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. He also had three hits in game two of the Michigan State series this year.
– Five Gamecocks finished with multi-hit games. Tolbert and Taylor were also 2-for-5 at the plate.
– Morris, Lee and freshman right-hander Sawyer Bridges combined for 12 strikeouts on the mound for Carolina.
– South Carolina has homered in seven straight games during this winning streak. The Gamecocks have 13 homers in that span.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“Obviously proud of the players and our team. We played three pretty solid days of baseball here. It’s easy to be satisfied after winning two and they were not just happy with getting two. They came out today with a lot of energy and juice and played real well. Madison’s big swing there to get us started got us the lead. Then we just played pretty well throughout. We got some pretty good swings up and down the lineup, I thought. Throwing three freshmen on a conference weekend and being able to get the win, I’m proud of those guys – all three of them. Colby was spectacular at the end. Colby likes to compete and I think you saw that in him today. All in all, a great day for us. We will try to recover a little bit with some of our injured guys. Hopefully we can recover this week and be a little bit (healthier) going into next week.
South Carolina returns home for a four-game homestand beginning on Wednesday night vs. Charleston Southern. First pitch is 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”