This was a game South Carolina not only needed, but definitely should have, won. Instead, in front of a sellout crowd, they lost it in the ninth inning when an errant throw to third by Matt Price allowed a UT runner to cross the plate. USC had no answer in the bottom of the inning and fell 5-4.
While Price’s blunder was unfortunate, that was hardly the only problem tonight. He’s also bailed us out many times, so it figures that a mistake would happen eventually. Coach Ray Tanner was clearly not pleased with his team’s performance (who was, really?), and said after the game:
“You don’t deserve to win when you strike out 13 times.”
Ouch. That’s harsh but true, and it’s disappointing to see Carolina drop games they should be winning every weekend. The Cocks left nine runners on base, including three in the fourth inning, when they had the bases loaded and brought in no runs. That’s not okay.
The Volunteers took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but the Gamecocks responded two innings later to take a 2-1 lead. Tennessee took back the lead in the top of the sixth, but the Yardcocks answered again, tacking on two more runs. UT scored again in the eighth to tie the game at 4-4, and then added the unearned run in the ninth for the win.
Of South Carolina’s three earned runs, Christian Walker was responsible for two and LB Dantzler for the other. Evan Marzilli has now reached base in all 30 games this season.
Starter Michael Roth pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He walked no one and struck out three batters. Matt Price, who took the loss and is now 3-3 on the season, threw 2 2/3 innings in which he surrendered two runs, two walks, and also struck out two. Drew Steckenrider earned the win for the Vols and is now 3-2. Closer Nick Blount got the save, his eighth of the season.
In other bad news, freshman Tanner English left the game in the first inning after stumbling while trying to field a ball. He apparently has a strained right hamstring (severity still unknown) and was sporting an ice pack in the dugout.
Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 8 ET tomorrow at Carolina Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Reminder: Follow @CockyCountry on twitter for in-game updates and commentary!