Florida scored five of its seven runs in the middle innings en route to a 7-3 win over the University of South Carolina baseball team in both team’s Southeastern Conference opener Friday night (March 16) at Founders Park.
South Carolina got on the board first in the bottom of the first frame as LT Tolbert singled up the middle to score TJ Hopkins for the early 1-0 lead. Hopkins was called out trying to steal second earlier in the inning but replay changed the call.
Adam Hill was strong in the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth. After a walk, single and foul out moved runners up 90 feet, Blake Reese singled up the middle to score a pair of runs. The Gators tacked on a run in the fifth as Deacon Liput singled to right to score Nelson Maldonado.
Florida scored a pair of runs in the sixth as Maldonado doubled down the line in left, scoring Wil Dalton and Austin Langworthy. South Carolina plated a run in the seventh on Chris Cullen’s second home run of the season, a solo shot, and a run in the eighth on Jonah Bride’s single to left. Florida ended the scoring in the ninth on Jonathan India’s two-run home run.
Cullen had two hits to pace Carolina’s offense. For Florida, Maldonado, Reese and India had two hits apiece.
Hill was tagged with the loss, allowing three hits and three runs with six strikeouts and five walks in 4.2 innings. TJ Shook had three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work, allowing four hits and two runs. Brady Singer earned the win on the mound. He struck out seven and allowed two hits and a run in six innings of work.
Florida put up a pair of runs in the fourth on Reese’s two-run single.
Carolina pitchers struck out 10 Gators on the night but also had seven walks.
Chris Cullen hit his eighth career home run in Friday’s game. He also has 50 career RBI.
Noah Campbell extended his hitting streak to five games with an infield single in the seventh.
Parker Coyne pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Gamecocks. He has not allowed a hit in 5.1 innings this season.
Friday’s attendance was 7,034 for the conference opener.
South Carolina and Florida will play the second game of the series on Saturday, March 17 with a 4 p.m. first pitch. The game will be streamed on SEC Network Plus.