KNOXVILLE, TENN. (USC SID) – Jonah Bride walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 10th inning to score a run and Jacob Olson was hit by a pitch to add a run as well as seventh ranked South Carolina defeated 24th ranked Tennessee 6-4 on Saturday afternoon to clinch a three-game SEC baseball series. The Gamecocks are 13-5 and 2-0 in the SEC with Tennessee 12-4 and 0-2 in league play. The win extends Carolina’s winning streak to six games.
The back-and-forth affair was tied 4-4 entering extra innings. Hunter Taylor led off with a base hit and moved over to second base on TJ Hopkins’ sacrifice bunt. With pinch runner Danny Blair on second base, Matt Williams walked, as did Alex Destino to load the bases with one out. Tennessee reliever Jon Lipinski struck out pinch hitter Carlos Cortes for the second out. To the plate stepped Bride, who battled to a 3-2 count and drew a walk to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Olson battled as well, fouling off six pitches in his at bat with Lipinski before being hit by a pitch allowing Williams to score to give Carolina a two-run lead. Tennessee would threaten in the bottom of the 10th bringing the potential winning run up to the plate in Jeff Moberg with runners on first and second and two outs. Reagan dug deep though and struck out Moberg, who is batting .425, to end the game and give the Gamecocks the series.
Reagan earned the win in 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with just one hit allowed. He is 2-0 on the year. Tennessee reliever Zach Linginfelter suffered the loss and is 0-1 for the season. He allowed three runs, two earned, on one hit in four innings with five walks and two strikeouts.
The Volunteers would go ahead early in the game with a pair of runs in the third inning. Andre Lipcius drove in a run with a base hit and Jordan Rodgers scored the second run, as he was able to get out of a jam between third base and home plate to score the second run.
Carolina answered in the top of the fourth with three runs to go ahead 3-2 with a pair of homers off the bat of TJ Hopkins and Bride. Hopkins’ homer led off the frame, a solo shot to left field, his third homer of the year. Bride would add a two-out two-run homer to left field on the first pitch he saw from Tennessee starter Zach Warren. Tennessee tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Moberg.
Both teams traded runs in the eighth inning. Carolina caught a break to score an unearned run. Taylor led off with a walk and advanced to third on a throwing error by Linginfelter, who tried to nab Hopkins, who had set down a sacrifice bunt. Taylor would score on Williams’ sacrifice fly to left-center. The Volunteers answered in their bottom half of the inning as pinch hitter Matt Waldren hit a one-out homer to left field.
Bride’s walk in the 10th inning gave the Gamecocks the lead and led to a two-run inning.
Despite being out-hit 10-4 in the contest, the Gamecock pitchers battled and limited the Volunteers to just three runs with Tennessee 2-for-11 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
– South Carolina has homered in six straight games with 11 homers in that span.
– Bride’s three RBI tied his season-high he set on March 4 vs. Clemson at Fluor Field. Bride is currently on a six-game hitting streak.
– Junior right-hander Wil Crowe started for the Gamecocks in his first collegiate start in his home state of Tennessee. Crowe allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings with four walks and five strikeouts.
– Senior right-hander Colie Bowers allowed his first earned run of the season in the eighth inning. Bowers allowed just the one run on two hits in two innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
– South Carolina walked a season-high nine times in the game.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“It was a big win for us, a gritty win. Anytime you get out-hit 10-4, the odds are not in your favor to win. We made our hits count. We were tough. We made pitches when we had to when people were on base; I believe they left 12 on base. We had some of our biggest pitches when they had runners in scoring position. We made some real nice plays defensively. Josh made a great pitch for the 30th out of the game (against Moberg). I’m proud of my players. It was meaningful. We came on this trip, not necessarily at full strength, but they battled and competed and found a way to win the first two. Hopefully we can try to play well tomorrow.
South Carolina and Tennessee conclude the series on Sunday with first pitch at 2 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”