Texas A&M Tops Carolina 3-0, USC Slips To 3rd In SEC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — Brigham Hill and Mark Ecker combined for a five-hit shutout as second-ranked Texas A&M defeated third-ranked South Carolina 3-0 on Friday night at Founders Park. The Aggies are now 38-10 overall and 17-8 in the SEC, while the Gamecocks fell to 37-12 on the year and 16-8 in conference play.

Hill recorded his sixth win of the season and improved to 6-1 after he pitched six innings with six strikeouts, five hits and two walks. Ecker earned his fourth save of the year with six strikeouts and no hits allowed in three innings pitched.  Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt suffered the loss and is now 9-2 on the year after giving up three runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings pitched.

After six scoreless innings, Texas A&M got on the board in the top of the seventh. Ryne Birk led off the inning with a single to left field, Michael Barash was hit by a pitch and Nick Banks bunted for a base hit to load the bases with no outs. With one out and the bases still full, Austin Homan drove in Barash on a fielder’s choice to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead.

The Aggies increased the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs with two outs in the eighth inning.  With runners on first and third for TAMU, Barash singled to left field to score Nick Choruby. The Aggies then loaded the bases and Birk scored off of a walk to Jonathan Moroney.

GAME CHANGER
Texas A&M’s two-run eighth inning gave the Aggies a three-run cushion.

KEY STAT
After Jonah Bride’s lead off single in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Gamecocks did not record another hit for the remainder of the game.

NOTABLES
•       Clarke Schmidt became the 29th pitcher in school history to record 100 or more strikeouts in a season. He currently has 102 strikeouts this season.

QUOTABLE
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“This was obviously a tough night for us. Texas A&M was terrific. The pitchers they put out there tonight were the story of the game. They just overpowered our guys. We struck out 12 times and couldn’t really push a run across. That’s not the recipe to beat those guys. They are a great team offensively and defensively. Honestly, what they put on the mound today was special as well. I thought Clarke [Schmidt] kept us in the game. He did pretty well against a really good offensive team, and he gave us a chance. We couldn’t do anything to help him or our pitching staff out. We didn’t do enough offensively, and that’s the story of the game. Their pitchers were better than our hitters. They got a couple of big hits there in the seventh and eighth. It was a tough night for us and we will try to bounce back tomorrow.”

UP NEXT
The second game of the series with Texas A&M is schedule for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Founders Park. It will be broadcast live on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”  Fans are also encouraged to arrive early as it is Senior Day with pregame festivities starting at approximately 7:15 p.m.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks