Three solo home runs by three different Gamecocks led the University of South Carolina baseball team to a 6-2 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers in game two of the weekend SEC series.
Cody Morris earned the win, pitching six innings, only allowing one run with five strikeouts. Parker Coyne and John Gilreath came in to combine for a scoreless frame and Eddy Demurias pitched the final two innings, striking out a pair while not allowing a hit.
The two teams traded zeroes until the bottom of the fourth when Carlos Cortes put the Gamecocks on the board with a solo home run, his sixth of the season. Danny Blair hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot in the fifth to make it 2-0.
Tennessee scored a run in the sixth off a one-out groundout from Andre Lipcius, cutting the Gamecock lead to 2-1.
Carolina responded in the bottom of the sixth thanks to base hits by Cortes, Justin Row and Riley Hogan. A single down the right field line by Cortes scored Row and a wild pitch from Tennessee pitcher Garrett Stallings scored Hogan, pushing the Gamecock lead to 4-1.
Carolina’s hot bats carried into the seventh when Jacob Olson hit his own solo homer to left. LT Tolbert then singled into right field and stole second to get into scoring position. Tolbert’s efforts were rewarded when first baseman Matt Williams stepped to the plate and doubled, bringing Tolbert home and making the score 6-1 Gamecocks.
Tennessee scored one run in the top of the eighth off a Gamecock throwing error, but a double play ended the threat.
“Great ball game. Once again a lot of guys stepping up. We ended that game with an outfielder playing second base, we have players helping us win that were backups earlier in the season so I think that speaks to the character of what we have right now. No matter who is in the lineup our guys are continuing to fight and win baseball games. Cody Morris was excellent tonight, really set the tone for us and once again when you get great starting pitching everything seems to fall in line behind it.”-Head Coach Mark Kingston
The Gamecocks responded to Tennessee’s score in the sixth with a two-run inning that included an RBI from Carlos Cortes and a score off a wild pitch.
Carlos Cortes went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a solo home run, his sixth of the year. Cortes set a season-best with the three hits on the night.
Carolina has an eight-game winning streak versus the Volunteers, and the Gamecocks have won the last 10 contests against Tennessee at Founders Park.
Carolina now has 12 different players with home runs after Danny Blair’s solo shot in the fifth.
Jonah Bride now has five hits in the series after going 2-for-4 in Friday’s game.
Carolina wins its first SEC series of the season and will go for its first sweep in Saturday’s contest.
South Carolina and Tennessee will wrap up the three-game set on Saturday, March 31 with a 2 p.m. first pitch. The game will be televised on SEC Network.