From staff reports/Photo by Allen Sharpe
South Carolina scored three runs in the second inning and its pitching staff made it hold up in a 3-2 win over LSU in Game 1 of a crucial SEC series in Baton Rouge.
Josh Reagan took over for starter Wil Crowe and hurled three scoreless innings to get the win. Tyler Johnson pitched out of jams in the eighth and ninth to seal the victory for South Carolina, which improved to 27-17 and 11-11 in the SEC. LSU falls to 30-16, 13-9.
The Gamecocks, who have lost five straight SEC series, have a chance to win the series tomorrow night in Baton Rouge.
South Carolina took a 3-0 lead in the second on four hits off LSU starter Alex Lange. Jonah Bride led off with a single and TJ Hopkins followed with a base hit to left. Alex Destino put Carolina ahead 1-0 on a RBI single to right. Bride was initially called out on a play at the plate, but the call was overturned.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Madison Stokes delivered a base hit up the middle to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
Kramer Robertson put LSU on the board with a solo home run in the fourth. The Tigers cut Carolina’s lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning when Michael Papierski and Zach Watson both singled and Papierski scored on a wild pitch.
Reagan relieved Crowe with one out in the fifth and induced a double play to end a base-loaded threat.
LSU threatened in the eighth and ninth but Johnson pitched out of both jams. LSU had a runner on third with two outs in the ninth but Johnson closed out the game by striking out Jake Slaughter.
"We wiggled out of some jams that you usually don’t wiggle out of in this stadium," head coach Chad Holbrook said. "You have to credit our pitchers and our defense behind them."
The Tigers were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.
“I never thought three runs would have got it done," Holbrook said. "We really made some big pitches when they had runners in scoring position.
"We played well and we have two more opportunities and we’ll see if we can get another big one.”
The series continues with Game 2 Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET.