Despite tallying 14 hits, fourth-ranked South Carolina fell to 13th-ranked Florida 4-3 in 13 innings on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 28-6 on the year and 8-6 in the conference action and the Gators improve to 22-13 and 8-6 in the SEC.
The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday with first pitch at 1:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on Gamecocksonline.com and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
Tied at 3-3 entering the 13th Florida pushed a run across in the top of the 13th and held on for the win. A pair of singles from Harrison Bader and Taylor Gushue and a hit by pitch from South Carolina reliever Taylor Widener on Peter Alonso loaded the bases for the Gators. With one out Justin Shafer lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bader and give the Gators a one-run lead. Florida freshman left-hander A.J. Puk would pitch a perfect frame in the bottom of the 13th to seal the Gators victory.
Puk is now 3-2 after 3.1 scoreless innings in two separate stints in the game. South Carolina junior right-hander Joel Seddon suffered the loss in relief. He is 1-1 on the year. He allowed two runs, on earned, on four hits in five innings of work with two walks and five strikeouts. It is the first game this season that Seddon has allowed a run in 15 relief appearances.
South Carolina got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. DC Arendas led off with a base hit, advanced to second on Tanner English’s sacrifice bunt and scored the first run of the game on Joey Pankake’s RBI double. Marcus Mooney would then bring home Pankake with a single up the middle.
The Gamecocks added to their lead, going ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Elliott Caldwell singled and stole second, putting a runner in scoring position for Tanner English who sent a 2-2 pitch to left field for a double and allowed Caldwell to score.
Florida responded with two runs in the top of the eighth. Buddy Reed opened the frame with a bunt for a base hit and scored on A.J. Puk’s RBI double. Richie Martin would then bring Puk home with a single to right field.
The Gators tied it in the ninth inning. Pinch hitter Zack Powers led off with a single to right-center. Jason Lombardozzi entered the game to pinch-run, advanced to second on a passed ball and would even the score at 3-3 on Casey Turgeon’s sacrifice fly to left field.
South Carolina’s 14-hit afternoon featured three-hit games from Pankake and English. Kyle Martin and Arendas had two hits as well. Bader went 3-for-6 to lead the Gators at the plate.