In one of the most important series of the season, the Gamecocks went into Baton Rouge and beat the Tigers twice, including one shut out, to win the series and keep them in good shape for the postseason. This should also hopefully calm some fans who were ready to hit the panic button a week or two ago.
South Carolina 2, LSU 5
The Tigers were the first ones on the board Friday night, and they put up their first runs in the second inning. With two outs, Ty Ross and Jacoby Jones took back-to-back walks, then Jared Foster singled to load the bases. Sean McMullen came through with a base hit of his own to bring both Ross and Jones across the plate and put the home team up 2-0.
LSU added to their lead in the fourth. Ross, Jones, and Foster knocked back-to-back-to-back singles, then McMullen launched a sac fly that put his team on top 3-0.
The Cocks ended the shutout in the fifth inning, as Connor Bright singled with two outs, then Tanner English tripled to get him home and make it 3-1.
The Tigers added another run in the sixth, though. McMullen got a boo-boo and a free base with two outs, Mark Laird knocked a base hit, and with runners on the corners, Alex Bregman singled to left to put LSU up 4-1. They added their final run in the next inning. Raph Rhymes reached first on an error by Chase Vergason, then made it to second. He advanced to third thanks to a sac bunt from Christian Ibarra, and came home when Ross singled to center.
USC tried to rally in the ninth inning, but they managed only one more run, as Joey Pankake led off with a homer.
Yardcocks starter Nolan Belcher lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits, four runs, walked four batters, struck out four, and hit one batter. He took the loss and dropped to 6-4 on the season. Patrick Sullivan pitched the remaining 2 1/3 innings and gave up three hits, one run, and tallied one K.
Tigers starter Aaron Nola tossed a complete game and surrendered six hits, two runs, struck out eight batters, and hit one. He obviously earned the win and improved to 8-0 on the season.
Pankake had two hits to lead Carolina at the plate while Sean McMullen, Ty Ross, Jacoby Jones, and Jared Foster all had two for LSU.