The South Carolina Gamecocks came into Oxford, Mississippi with the hope of solidifying their hold as a Regional Host Contender…. well that was until Gunnar Hoglund and Doug Nikhazy took the mound for the Rebels!
In Game 1, Hoglund went six innings on the mound and struck out nine batters while giving up just one run and not allowing a single walk. TJ McCants went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI while Kevin Graham and Hayden Leatherwood also recorded two hits, each going 2-for-5. Justin Bench led the Rebels with two RBIs. On the Gamecock side, They never got out of first gear! As a team, they combined for 2 hits with those coming from Josiah Sightler and Andrew Eyster. The Rebels scored 2 runs in the first inning and added a further 3 in the 4th. The Gamecocks scored their only run in the 7th inning. Thomas Farr was on the mound for the Gamecocks, but never truly got a foothold on the game with a lack of control and, furthermore, his team had 2 errors that resulted in 2 runs.
With the potential of Inclement weather on Sunday, There was a double header scheduled for Friday! Many Gamecocks were licking their chops with the potential of tying and winning the series in the same day! That optimism was increased even more when Colin Burgess hit a home run in the top of the 2nd inning to propel the Gamecocks into the lead! That was short lived as Justin Bench homered in the bottom of the 2nd and then Brannon Jordan walked Jacob Gonzalez with the bases loaded to put the Rebels up 2-1. Doug Nikhazy took the mound and produced 7 innings of fantastic pitching. Allowing the Gamecocks to only score 3 runs off of 6 hits. The Rebels never truly looked out of control in game 2. The Gamecocks continued to knock on the door, but never truly posed a threat. The Rebels shut the door in the 5th and 6th innings with Hayden Dunhurst and Jacob Gonzalez both hitting 2-run homers and McCants scoring on a sacrifice fly. The Rebels extended their lead to 7-1. The Gamecocks tried to mount a late comeback with George Callil hitting a 2 run double to narrow the lead to 7-3, but the prowess of Ole Miss reliever Taylor Broadway shut the door on any comeback and sealed the Game 2 win and their first series win in 4 weeks.
With a sense of pride on the line the Gamecocks went into Game 3, with one thing on their mind! Not getting Swept! The Gamecocks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second on a 3 run homer by Wes Clarke. Ole Miss answered with two in the second and two in the third, but Carolina came back to tie the game at four in the top of the fifth as Brady Allen brought in George Callil with a single to right. Ole Miss broke the tie in the bottom of the frame on run-scoring singles from Hayden Dunhurst and TJ McCants. The Ole Miss Rebels would go onto win the game 6-4 and complete the sweep over the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks open a four-game homestand Tuesday against North Florida and will then play Mississippi State at home next weekend.
The Rebels will play Arkansas State on Tuesday before traveling to College Station to play the Aggies.
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