COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) – The University of South Carolina baseball team rallied behind dominant pitching in which it only gave up two hits in game one of the series, ultimately defeating Tennessee 6-1 on Thursday night (March 29) at Founders Park. The Gamecocks improve to 15-11 (2-5 SEC) and the Volunteers fall to 17-10 (4-3 SEC).
Junior RHP Adam Hill pitched a gem and got the win to improve to 3-2. Hill threw five hitless innings with four strikeouts and four walks. Freshman RHP Carmen Mlodzinski looked strong in 1.2 innings of relief, retiring six of seven batters faced, giving up just one hit. Tennessee starter Garrett Crochet suffered the loss, falling to 2-3 on the season. He gave up six runs on seven hits in 4.3 innings of work but added four strikeouts.
Jonah Bride had a great night at the plate for the Gamecocks, going 3-for-3 with three singles, three runs, and a walk. Chris Cullen had three RBI’s on the evening, drawing a walk with the bases loaded and singling in two runs to plate his second and third of the evening.
The Gamecocks got ahead early, scoring three runs with two outs in the bottom of the first, despite recording just one hit in the inning. LT Tolbert was hit by a pitch, stole second, and advanced to third on an error with two outs before Chris Cullen drew a walk with the bases loaded. Riley Hogan followed it up with a base hit to shallow left field to bring home Bride and Hunter Taylor to extend the early lead to 3-0.
The Gamecocks hot bats continued in the third, when Cullen hit a bases-loaded two-run single up the middle that brought home Justin Row and Bride to push the lead to 5-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Gamecocks pushed their lead to 6-0. Bride singled, then advanced on a wild pitch. The next batter, Hunter Taylor, hit a ball down the right field line that was originally called foul before being overturned by an official review, moving Bride to third and putting Taylor on first. Tennessee starter Garrett Crochet’s second wild pitch of the inning allowed Bride to score and Taylor to move up to second.
Tennessee broke the shutout in the eighth. Brandon Chinea singled to start the inning off before advancing two bases on a throwing error from Tolbert. A wild pitch brought him home and moved Jay Charleston to third where he would remain stranded when the inning ended, leaving the score 6-1 where it would stay for the remainder of the game.
“It was great to have Adam Hill out there tonight. It gave the team a different mindset when they have their best guy out there doing what Adam does for us. That set the tone for us and gave us a bit of our edge back. Five innings and no hits speaks for itself.” – Head Coach Mark Kingston
Chris Cullen’s third inning single drove in two runs to put the Gamecocks up by five, moving his season RBI total to 15.
Adam Hill shut the Volunteers down with five hitless innings. His opponent’s batting average for the season is now at .110.
USC has a seven game win streak versus the Volunteers, and the Gamecocks have won the last nine contests against Tennessee at Founders Park.
Hill struck out four through five hitless innings, a week after missing his start at Georgia.
Riley Hogan set a season high with two RBI in his first start at first base this season.
Jonah Bride tied a career high with three runs scored while going 3-for-3 at the plate.
Chris Cullen tied a season high with three RBI in the win.
South Carolina and Tennessee will play game two of the series on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Founders Park. The game will be televised on SEC Network.