Gamecocks Complete Comeback; Sweep Tennessee
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina baseball team came from behind on Saturday afternoon (March 31), tying the game at three with a run in the seventh and taking the lead with three runs in the eighth to complete the series sweep against Tennessee, 6-3, at Founders Park.
Carolina was the first one on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning with a couple singles to start it off by LT Tolbert and Jonah Bride. Carlos Cortes hit a sacrifice fly to score Tolbert from third, giving the Gamecocks the early 1-0 advantage.
Tennessee answered with three runs of its own in the top of the fourth inning. Justin Ammons and Jay Charleston started it off with a pair of walks. A double from Andre Lipcius and a single by Evan Russell gave the Volunteers the 3-1 lead.
The Gamecocks inched closer in the bottom of the sixth. Cortes hit a hard single to right field to begin and Riley Hogan followed up with a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt from Hunter Taylor moved the runners up 90 feet, Chris Cullen brought in a run with a groundout to third.
The Volunteers were threatening in the top of the seventh, loading the bases after two singles and a walk, but TJ Shook came in and struck out Andre Lipcius swinging to leave the bases loaded.
Carolina then tied the game in the seventh. With one out, Tolbert walked and Bride was hit by a pitch.Matt Williams singled to load the bases and with two out, Hogan was able to take a walk, which scored Tolbert from third and tied the game up at 3-3.
The Gamecocks took the lead in the eighth with a three-spot. Kyle Jacobson singled to left, stole second and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Jacob Olsen hit a shot to right center for a double scoring Jacobson from third, giving Carolina a 4-3 lead. Then Jonah Bride took a walk and Matt Williams hit a double to right center, scoring a pair.
Tennessee was not able to do anything in the bottom of the ninth as Eddy Demurias picked up his third win of the season. He struck out a batter in 1.1 innings pitched. Ridge Chapman struck out four and allowed two hits and three runs with four walks in 3.2 innings. Shook struck out two in an inning of relief.
TJ Shook came out of the bullpen with the bases loaded and a 1-0 count in the top of the seventh. The count got to 3-0 before Shook threw three straight strikes to get out of the jam.
Matt Williams had two hits on the day, the last a two-run double to the gap in right in the eighth to give the Gamecocks a cushion heading into the ninth inning.
- Carolina has a nine-game winning streak versus the Volunteers, and the Gamecocks have won the last 11 contests against Tennessee at Founders Park.
- Carolina earned its second weekend sweep of the season (Princeton March 9-10) and first in SEC play since Tennessee in 2017 (March 17-19).
- Jonah Bride was 7-for-10 with a double and four runs scored in the Tennessee series.
- Eddy Demurias picked up his third win of the season on the mound. Demurias has pitched in six of the nine games in SEC play this year and is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and nine strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched in conference games.
- Carolina picks up its first win of the season when trailing going into the seventh inning.
South Carolina will head to Charlotte, N.C., and BB&T Ballpark to face North Carolina Tuesday night (April 3) at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Gamecocks Athletics contributed to this article.