High-powered offense jolted 30th ranked South Carolina to a 10-0 rout over Georgia in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Founders Park. The Gamecocks had 12 hits, led by Jonah Bride’s three singles. Four different pitchers for the home team combined for nine strikeouts, allowing just three hits in nine innings of work.
Freshman Colby Lee got the start for South Carolina, throwing 3.1 innings, giving up one hit and striking out three. Senior Colie Bowers picked up the win in relief duty to move to 5-1 on the season. He pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Tony Locey took the loss after giving up three runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Lee worked quick early, retiring the Bulldogs 1-2-3 with two strikeouts in the first inning. Carolina threatened early as Carlos Cortes ripped a one-out double to the left field wall in the bottom half of the inning. A deep fly ball to the warning track in left by John Jones ended the inning however, stranding Cortes on third.
The second and third innings were much of the same story for Lee, as he retired five of the next six batters he faced. Danny Blair started a big inning for the Gamecocks in the third as he poked a leadoff single up the middle. Justin Row then walked and he and Blair advanced to second and third on a past ball with no outs. Leadoff man LT Tolbert delivered with runners in scoring position as he lifted a fly ball to centerfield that scored Blair from third.
Riley Hogan, batting in the three hole Saturday, stepped in and laced one down the line in left field for an RBI double that scored Row from second. Carolina was not done, as Jones ripped a single passed Georgia first baseman Adam Sasser, scoring Hogan from second and putting the Gamecocks in front 3-0 after three innings of play.
The Bulldogs loaded the basses in the top of the fourth inning with two outs after LJ Talley walked. Head coach Chad Holbrook went to the bullpen as right-hander Colie Bowers came on in relief for Lee. Bowers did his job and got Sasser to fly out to end the inning. Bride opened the bottom half of the inning with a single for the home team. Blair stepped in and hit a ground ball to Talley at second base. He bobbled it and overthrew Sasser at first base, as Bride scored and Blair advanced to second. Tolbert grounded out to end the frame, as Carolina led 4-0 heading to the fifth.
The Gamecocks tacked on some insurance in the bottom half of the fifth, as Cortes scored on a wild pitch from third to make it 5-0 heading to sixth inning. Bowers tallied his second straight scoreless inning on the hill, and Carolina threatened again putting its first two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth inning. Row stepped to the plate with and poked a one-out, two-RBI double down the left field line. Tolbert then singled and Carolina had runners on the corners with one down.
Cortes hit a hard ground ball that went through Talley’s legs at second, scoring Tolbert from third as the Gamecock lead grew to 8-0 heading to seventh inning. The bats stayed hot for Carolina in the bottom of the seventh, as Bride and Olson laced back-to-back singles to leadoff the inning. Blair delivered an RBI double to left field. Carolina would add one more run on a Destino groundout in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-0.
The Gamecock pitching staff was lights out from start to finish, allowing just three hits, three walks with nine strikeouts. It was the fourth shutout of the season for the Gamecocks.
Carolina got timely hitting, going 3-for-6 with runners on third with less than two outs.
• Jonah Bride’s team-high three hits were his most since he had three at Auburn on April 2.
• Tyler Johnson came in and threw 1.2 innings of relief work late. He struck out three of the five batters he faced.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“I’m proud of my players for a lot of reasons. When you’re in this business a long time, sometimes you lose some heartbreakers and some tough games. Some of the goals you set forth aren’t going to be realized in the regular season. Sometimes you wonder how they’ll show up. Our players showed a lot of pride for the uniform that they wear and the program that they’re a part of. They played a great game today and for that I am proud. We’ll turn our attention to Hoover. It’s a do or die situation. We’ll go down there and see if we can get on a little bit of a hot streak. You never know. We’re going to keep breathing and keep playing, scratching and clawing until the last out is made. No reason we can’t go down there and get on a little bit of a roll and put ourselves back in the conversation. That’s going to be our mindset when we leave on Monday.”
The Gamecocks are back in action as they head to Hoover, Ala. for the 2017 SEC Tournament May 23-28. South Carolina is seeded No. 11 and will play No. 6 Vanderbilt in a single elimination game on Tuesday, May 23. First pitch is 10:30 a.m. ET.
-per USC Athletics