Olson belts three-run homer, Hill shuts down Tennessee in SEC opener

**By Staff reports/Photo by Allen Sharpe**

Adam Hill had done his part, holding a hot-hitting Tennessee team at bay for six innings. He just needed someone to help him out on the offensive end. 

That someone was sophomore outfielder Jacob Olson, who belted a three-run home run in the seventh inning to jumpstart the Gamecock attack and lead South Carolina to a 7-1 win at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville in its first SEC game of the season. 

Matt Williams making impact at plate, in dugout

The Gamecocks and Volunteers were tied at one when Jonah Bride doubled with one out in the seventh. Madison Stokes followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Olson then hit the first pitch he saw from deliver Garrett Stallings over the left-field wall. 

The Gamecocks added three runs in the eighth when catcher Chris Cullen hit his fourth home run and Stokes added an RBI double and LT Tolbert an RBI single. The Gamecocks pounded out 15 hits, matching their season-high. 

Hill, meanwhile, was outstanding in a rare Friday night start. Normally the Sunday starter, Hill was called on to pitch Game 1 of the series with ace Clarke Schmidt nursing an oblique strain. 

The sophomore right-hander allowed just one run on six hits and struck out five in six innings for his first win of the season. Reed Scott pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, to close it out for the Gamecocks, who improved to 12-5 on the season.

"Adam was terrific, his first start on a Friday night," head coach Chad Holbrook said. "He kept us in there against a real good hitting team that has a great plate approach. He kind of kept them at bay."  

Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the third when Olson singled, Tolbert doubled and TJ Hopkins delivered an RBI single. Hopkins, hobbled by a quad strain, served as the DH instead of playing center field. 

Tennessee, 12-3, tied it in the sixth on a double by Jordan Rodgers and a single by Andre Lipcius. 

Olson then had the hit of the game, crushing his fourth home run. He and Cullen lead the Gamecocks with four home runs each. 

"Olson stepped up there in the seventh and hit one out of sight and got the momentum back into our dugout," Holbrook said. 

All nine starters had at least one hit for the Gamecocks. Cullen went 3-for-5, while Bride, Stokes, Olson and Tolbert each had two hits. Of the 15 hits, six went for extra bases.

“It was a big win for us. On Friday night in this league, it’s a big win," Holbrook said. "It was a great team win — a complete win."

South Carolina and Tennessee resume the series Saturday at 2 p.m.