The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first and made it 2-0 in the fourth. Joey Pankake finally got USC on the board in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single, cutting LSU’s lead to only one run. Unfortunately, the Tigers responded in the fifth inning with a solo homer.
The Cocks kept the game within reach until the ninth, when LSU added two more runs and took a 5-1 lead. Pankake had another RBI single in the bottom of the inning, but that was as far as the rally would go.
He led Carolina at the plate, going 2-for-4. Mason Katz and Jordy Snikeris were LSU’s leaders. They also went 2-for-4 and were responsible for the Tigers’ two home runs. The Gamecocks were outhit 12-5, and the only area in which LSU was outperformed was in the number of men left on base. USC stranded six, the Tigers left 10.
South Carolina starter Michael Roth pitched eight innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits. He walked four batters and also struck out four. He took the loss, his first this year, and is now 5-1 on the season. Patrick Sullivan and Logan Munson combined to pitch the final inning. Munson was perfect, but Sullivan gave up two runs on two hits. Neither issued or walks or tallied and K’s. LSU’s Kevin Gausman pitched a complete game and allowed only two runs on five hits. He walked two batters and struck out six. With the win, his record improves to 9-1.
Game 2: In front of a sellout crowd at Carolina Stadium, the Yardcocks played comeback kids in the second game of the day, rallying to defeat the Tigers 5-4.
This game didn’t start off very promising for USC, as they trailed 3-0 until the sixth inning. Luckily, they remembered to battle/win anyway/make people fear the fish and rallied to score four runs in the sixth, taking a 4-3 lead. Tanner English singled, Evan Marzilli walked, and then Christian Walker went yard, tying the game. Grayson Greiner followed that with a single, and Joey Pankake notched an RBI triple to give the Cocks a 4-3 lead.
Matt Price entered the game after that, and basically did what he does best. He quickly got a pop out and two K’s, and then Carolina added an insurance run courtesy of Adam Matthews, who was credited with an RBI double though it appeared to be a homer. LSU cut the lead back down to only one with a two-out RBI single in the eighth, but they couldn’t add anything more. Price closed out the game with a flawless ninth inning to ensure the victory for USC.
Matthews led the Yardcocks at the plate, going 3-for-4. He also stole two bases. Raph Rhymes and Tyler Hanover were the leaders for the Tigers, both going 2-for-3. South Carolina was outhit 11-8, but left only five men on base. LSU stranded 13.
Carolina starter Forrest Koumas hurled 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He issued two walks and recorded four strike outs. Tyler Webb threw 1 2/3 innings and gave up no runs and only three hits. He walked one batter and K’d one as well. He earned the win, too, and improves to 5-0 on the seaosn. Evan Beal was in the game briefly, but walked the first two batters he faced and was replaced by Price, who got his ninth save of the year. In three innings of work, he surrendered only one run on three hits. He walked nobody and struck out seven batters.
All of this makes tomorrow’s already major game even bigger. Because Kentucky lost to Mississippi State for the second night in a row, USC can win the SEC East and the regular season conference championship if they beat LSU Saturday. If they come out on top, they will have beaten Kentucky (and maybe Florida) for the title by only a half-game.
South Carolina is now 39-14 overall and 18-10 in SEC play. LSU drops to 41-14 and 18-11 in conference play. Tomorrow’s sort of kind of really important rubber game will begin at 1 ET and be televised on ESPNU. Colby Holmes will start on the mound for the Yardcocks and Ryan Eades will get the nod for the Tigers.