South Carolina's SEC Tournament run ends

South Carolina's SEC Tournament run ends

**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Jenny Dilworth**

LSU was on a roll entering Saturday's SEC Tournament semifinal against South Carolina, and the Gamecocks could not slow the Tigers down.

LSU scored 11 runs in the first three innings, and rolled to an 11-0 victory to end the Gamecocks' magical run in Hoover, Alabama.

South Carolina (35-25) won three games in the conference tournament for the first time since 2004, but flat out ran out of gas against the Tigers (42-17).

"A lot of grit and fight," Alex Destino said when asked what he takes away from the SEC Tournament run. "A lot of people had the book closed on the Gamecocks coming in, telling us what we couldn't do in Hoover. We showed a lot of fight against some extremely good teams. We definitely made some noise in Hoover." 

Playing in its fifth game in five days, South Carolina was forced to start freshman Colby Lee on the mound. He was hit hard by the Tigers' hot lineup, and lasted just 1.1 innings. John Parke also couldn't quiet the LSU bats, and the rout was on.

"It was going to take a perfect game from us, and they got off to a great start," head coach Chad Holbrook said. "We weren't really able to recover. They ambushed us a little bit, offensively. That was the story of the game." 

LSU kept up its red hot start right from the beginning of Saturday's game. Leadoff hitter Kramer Robertson pounced on Lee's third pitch and sent it far over the fence in left to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. 

Three batters later with a man on first, Greg Deichmann was just able to get a two-run homer over the fence in right-center. T.J. Hopkins almost stole the homer from Deichmann, but the ball was just a few inches too far.

LSU would add a couple more runs in the second. With one out, Kramer Robertson singled and moved to second on a wild pitch by Lee. That would be it for the freshman, who was replaced by Parke. Parke's first two pitches were hit for singles, and one run scored. Another run scored on a wild pitch, and the Tigers held a 5-0 lead after one and a half innings.

The Tigers opened it up in the third inning. They sent 11 men to the plate and added another home run and two triples.

Zach Watson had a two-run triple and Robertson followed with a RBI triple of his own. It was Robertson's third hit of the game, and left him a double shy of the cycle. Deichmann added his second homer of the game, and the Tigers led the Gamecocks, 11-0 after two and a half.

"We were going to try and keep the game close and try to get to the fifth or sixth inning and have a chance," Holbrook said. "But they're swinging at such a high level right now, they didn't give us that opportunity." 

South Carolina now awaits its postseason fate. The NCAA selection show is on Monday, and the Gamecocks hope they did enough to make it in. With three wins in the SEC Tournament over quality teams, the situation looks a lot better than before the trip to Hoover.

"I think our numbers speak for itself compared to other bubble teams," Holbrook said. "Top 50 wins, top 100 wins, RPI, strength of schedule."