Gamecocks walk their way to another win over Tennessee

Gamecocks walk their way to another win over Tennessee

**From staff reports/Photo by Allen Sharpe**

A day after pounding out 15 hits, including two big home runs, South Carolina managed just four hits but manufactured the winning runs in extra innings against Tennessee. 

Jonah Bride walked with the based loaded in the top of the 10th and Jacob Olson was hit by a pitch to force in another run as the Gamecocks beat Tennessee 6-4 for its sixth straight win to take the series against the Volunteers. The Gamecocks improved to 13-5 and 2-0 in the SEC. 

“It was a big win for us, a gritty win," head coach Chad Holbrook said. "Anytime you get out-hit 10-4, the odds are not in your favor to win. We made our hits count. We were tough."  

Gamecocks play long ball to win Game 1

Tennessee tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on a home run by pinch-hitter Matt Waldren.  Both teams threatened in the ninth but could not score, sending the game to extra innings. 

Hunter Taylor led off the 10th with a bloop single and moved to second a sacrifice bunt by TJ Hopkins. With Danny Blair pinch-running for Taylor, Matt Williams and Alex Destino walked to load the bases. With two out, Bride worked the count full before walking to force in Blair with the go-ahead run. Olson then fouled off six pitches before getting hit by a pitch to score Williams.

Tennessee put two runners on base in the bottom of the inning and brought the winning run to the plate before Josh Reagan struck out Jeff Moberg, Tennessee's leading hitter, to end the game and earn the win. Reagan allowed just one hit in 2.1 scoreless innings to improve to 2-0. 

Tennessee native Wil Crowe started for the Gamecocks and allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings with five strikeouts. Senior right-hander Colie Bowers allowed just one run, his first of the season, on two hits in two innings. 

"We made pitches when we had to when people were on base," Holbrook said. "We had some of our biggest pitches when they had runners in scoring position."

Tennessee left 12 runners on base and was just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. 

Tennessee took the lead with a pair of runs in the third inning, but South Carolina rallied with a pair of home runs in the fourth. Hopkins led off the fourth with his third homer of the year, and Bride followed with a two-run shot to give the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead. 

Tennessee tied it in the bottom of the fourth, and the two teams traded runs in the eighth. Taylor reached on a walk, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a sac fly by Williams. 

The Gamecocks homered for the sixth straight game, with 11 home runs during that span. They also drew a season-high nine walks.

"I’m proud of my players. It was meaningful," Holbrook said. "We came on this trip, not necessarily at full strength, but they battled and competed and found a way to win the first two." 

The series concludes at 2 p.m. on Sunday with redshirt freshman Cody Morris starting for South Carolina in place of Clarke Schmidt, who is recovering from a strained oblique.