(Photo Courtesy of South Carolina Athletics)
The Gamecocks came in to the final weekend of the Regular Season with one thing on their mind. Hosting! The Gamecocks controlled their own fate in theory and getting a series win of #4 Tennessee would solidify that goal.
In Game 1: Wes Clarke hit his 21st home run of the season and John Gilreath pitched five innings of relief, but a six-run fourth given up by Brannon Jordan lifted No. 4 Tennessee to a 10-4 win over the University of South Carolina baseball team on Thursday night (May 20) at Founders Park.
Tennessee put up a run in the third and had six runs in the fourth on five hits. Clarke cut the lead to 7-2 with the home run to left. Andrew Eyster made it 7-4 with a two-run home run to center in the eighth inning, but the Vols answered with a three-spot in the ninth for the series opening win.
Eyster and David Mendham had two hits apiece for the Gamecocks. For Tennessee, Max Ferguson and Luc Lipcius had three RBI apiece.
Gilreath allowed a pair of runs on four hits in five innings of relief. Brannon Jordan allowed seven runs on six hits with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings, picking up the loss.
This was the Gamecocks 9th win over a top 5 ranked team in the country putting them in the top 5 in this category!
In Game 3: The Gamecocks scored three times in the bottom of the eighth and had a runner in scoring position in the ninth, but the Gamecocks fell to No. 4 Tennessee, 5-4, Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale at Founders Park.
Brady Allen opened the first by hitting the first pitch out of the park for his 13th home run of the season. Tennessee answered with a run in the second and four runs in the fourth, with a three-run home run from Connor Pavolony.
Carolina mounted a rally in the eighth. Allen and Andrew Eyster opened the inning with singles. Allen scored on Wes Clarke’s double. Josiah Sightler then brought in a run with an infield single and David Mendham RBI groundout made it 5-4. Jeff Heinrich opened the ninth with a double to right but Sean Hunley had three straight strikeouts to end the game.
The loss went to Thomas Farr, who struck out seven and allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings of work. Will Sanders struck out a pair in 2.1 innings and Daniel Lloyd pitched 1.2 hitless innings. Blade Tidwell had six strikeouts in seven innings, allowing six hits and four runs to earn the win.
South Carolina ends the regular season with a 33-20 overall record and a 16-14 SEC record, good for fourth place in the East. They finish the Regular Season with a National Ranking of 21, and an RPI of 13.
South Carolina will now turn its attention to the 2021 SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met in Hoover, Ala. The Gamecocks will be the seventh seed and will play Alabama on Tuesday afternoon (May 25) at approximately 2 p.m. Central (1 p.m. Eastern). The winner of that game will play the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday at a time TBA.