The University of South Carolina baseball team’s offense erupted for a season high 16 hits and sophomore Cody Morris struck out a career high 10 batters as the Gamecocks evened the series with No. 2 Florida with a 15-7 win on Saturday afternoon (March 17) at Founders Park.
Five Gamecocks had multi-hit days, led by Jonah Bride and Jacob Olson with three hits apiece. Bride joined Hunter Taylor with three RBI and nine different Gamecocks had hits on the day.
Morris pitched 5.1 innings and struck out the career high 10 Gators while walking just one. He allowed four hits and two earned runs to move to 4-1 on the year.
The excitement started for the Gamecocks in their very first at-bat. Noah Campbell hit a fly ball to right that kept carrying and went off the wall. He sped around the bases and was originally ruled out at the plate, but replay changed the call and it was South Carolina’s first inside-the-park home run since 2009. Two batters later, Madison Stokes belted a two-run home run to give Carolina a 3-0 lead.
Stokes scored on a balk in the third to make it 4-0 Gamecocks. Florida came back with a run in the fourth and one in the sixth. South Carolina then erupted for five runs in the bottom of the sixth, which included a ground-rule double from Bride that scored two and a two-run single from Matt Williams.
Florida kept it interesting, scoring three runs in the seventh, which included Will Dalton’s second home run of the day, and adding a run in the eighth, but the Gamecocks put things out of reach with six runs in the eighth. Taylor belted a three-run home run, and Olson followed with a solo blast. LT Tolbert and Bride also had RBI’s in the inning.
South Carolina had a 9-6 lead in the top of the eighth, but were threatening for more when Eddy Demurias came in and induced a pop out and struck out Nelson Maldonado to end the frame. The Gamecocks then scored six runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game out of reach.
Carolina had a season-high 16 hits and tied a season-high with 15 runs in Saturday’s win, including three hits and three RBI from Jonah Bride.
Noah Campbell hit Carolina’s first inside-the-park home run since Whit Merrifield had one on May 10, 2009 at Tennessee. Campbell also extended his hitting streak to six games.
South Carolina’s 15 runs were its most in an SEC game since the Gamecocks put up 19 in a win over Tennessee on April 7, 2013.
Jonah Bride set a season-high with three hits and three RBI in the win.
Cody Morris’ previous strikeout high was eight, set twice, including last May 3 against Wofford.
Carolina now has 31 home runs on the season after its four-home run outburst in today’s game. The Gamecocks had 21 in the first 19 games last season.
Saturday’s attendance was 7,207 for the Saturday afternoon affair.
South Carolina and Florida will play the rubber game of the three-game series Sunday afternoon (March 18) at 1 p.m. at Founders Park. The game will be televised on ESPNU with Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson on the call.