Despite allowing just four hits all game, the University of South Carolina baseball team (13-7, 1-2 SEC) dropped the rubber match, 3-2, to No. 2 Florida (18-4, 2-1 SEC) on Sunday afternoon in front of 7,113 fans at Founders Park.
Gators starter RHP Tyler Dyson earned the win and improved to 4-1 on the season. He pitched five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He had five strikeouts and two walks. South Carolina starter Ridge Chapman suffered the loss and is now 1-2 on the year. He allowed three runs, two of them earned, on three hits. RHP Michael Byrne also earned his fifth save of the season for the Gators. He allowed no hits in 2.1 innings of work but had no strikeouts and a walk.
Florida opened the scoring in the top half of the first inning after a leadoff home run from Will Dalton. Chapman shut the Gators down after the solo shot, as he retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced.
The Gators again led off the fourth inning with a leadoff solo homer, this time off the bat of JJ Schwarz. They added what would turn out to be the deciding run later in the inning after Jonathan India was hit by a pitch and was later driven in by a sacrifice fly from Deacon Liput to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Gamecocks answered in their half of the fourth inning, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Jonah Bride was hit by a pitch and was later driven in off of a single up the middle from Danny Blair.
Carolina kept fighting back after Jacob Olson hit his sixth home run of the season, this time a solo shot to left field, to lead off the sixth inning.
The Gamecocks fought hard to tie up the game or take the lead but were shut down in the last four innings of the game after Olson's home run. After Dyson was removed for Florida, relief pitchers Jordan Butler and Michael Byrne combined to now allow a hit in four innings of work.
The Gamecock's relief pitchers also looked stellar today. RHP Parker Coyne struck out the side in the fifth inning, his only inning of work. Eddy Demurias pitched the final four innings of the game and retired his first seven batters faced. He struck out four and walked one while allowing just one hit.
"I'm real proud with the way our guys played. We faced another first rounder today and took great at bats all day. We didn't get as many hits as we did yesterday but we only struck out five times in five innings against that guy. We made him throw 115 pitches in five innings which is a really good job for our offense. I thought our guys played their hearts out today, they played to win and I'll go to battle with that team every day if we play like that." -- Head Coach Mark Kingston
Florida extended its lead to 3-0 in the top half of the fourth inning after JJ Schwarz's leadoff home run and Jonathan India scored an unearned run. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt from Ridge Chapmanallowed India to advance from first to third base, and Deacon Liput subsequently hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score India.
Pitching for his second straight day, RHP Eddy Demurias threw four scoreless innings, giving up just one hit, striking out four, and walking no one.
Noah Campbell extended his hit streak to seven games on an infield single in the third inning.
Jacob Olson's sixth inning home run was his sixth of the season, which leads the Gamecocks. He has 12 total home runs in his career.
After going 2-for-4 today, LT Tolbert now has eight multi-hit games on the season.
Sunday's attendance was 7,113 making the attendance for the series a total of 21,354.
South Carolina will travel to The Citadel on Tuesday evening (March 20) at 7 p.m. in Charleston.