Seventh-ranked South Carolina (22-3/5-1
SEC) completed a weekend sweep of ninth-ranked Florida (17-11/2-4 SEC) with a dominating 21-4
victory at Sarge Frye Field on Sunday afternoon. The
Gamecocks tallied 10 runs in the second, seven in the third, three in the fifth
and one more in the seventh en route to their first sweep of the Gators since
1995. USC has now taken seven of the eight series between the squads on its
home turf. The Gamecocks pounded out 20 hits, with four homers, three doubles
and a triple.
The defeat was
the third-worst in school history for Florida
and the club’s second-worst conference loss behind a 20-2 setback to Pat McMahon’s Mississippi State
team on May 5, 2000. Junior Robbie Grinestaff was
3-for-5 with five runs batted in, three runs, two solo homers and a double,
junior Cheyne Hurst (3-for-5, five RBI, three runs)
and senior Michael Campbell (4-for-6, four RBI, two runs) were among the
hitting stars for the Gamecocks. Junior David
Cash (Odessa, Fla.)
was 2-for-4 with a season-high three RBI in his return to Columbia for the Gators.
first career SEC start and his first start since March 8, a 3-1 victory over
UNC Greensboro, freshman J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville,
Fla.) pitched out of trouble
in the first inning. The lefty issued back-to-back one-out walks to Campbell
and senior Neil Giesler before retiring freshman
Justin Smoak (pop-up) and junior Drew Martin
Gamecocks sent 14 batters to the plate in the second inning and exploded for 10
runs on seven hits and an error. Grinestaff led off with
a homer over the center-field wall, his seventh of the season and second of the
weekend. LaCoste walked freshman Reese Havens, struck
out senior Ian Paxton and then walked freshman James Darnell, prompting a
pitching change. LaCoste (2-2) was charged with three
runs on one hit and walked four batters over 1.1 innings.
advanced his teammates into scoring position against redshirt
freshman Matt Hightower (Cartersville, Ga.) with a
sacrifice bunt and Campbell punched a two-run single up the middle for a 3-0
advantage. Giesler followed with an infield hit to
extend his hitting streak to 17 games and a walk to Smoak
filled the sacks. A fielding error on freshman pinch hitter Jonathan Ratledge’s grounder brought across Campbell and Grinestaff cleared the bases with a three-run double down
the right-field line to increase the margin to 7-0. Havens stroked an RBI
single and Paxton jacked a two-run blast to left for a 10-run cushion. Freshman
Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.)
relieved Hightower (0.1 IP, 5H, 7R, 0ER) and yielded an infield hit to Darnell
before having Hurst
fly out to center.
around again in the third, highlighted by a grand slam from Hurst, to build a 17-0 lead. Campbell started things
off with a single, Giesler doubled and Smoak was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks. Spottswood plunked Ratledge to
plate a run but struck out Grinestaff for the initial
out. The right-hander walked Havens to score Giesler
and then allowed an RBI single to Paxton. After Darnell was caught looking on
strikes, Hurst launched
his second homer of the season and first career grand slam to put the Gamecocks
ahead by 17.
Florida got on the board in the fourth on a two-run single to right
field by Cash, who played at South
Carolina in 2004. Juniors Brian Jeroloman (Wellington,
Fla.) and Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.)
had delivered consecutive one-out singles off junior Forrest Beverly before
Cash raised his season RBI total to six.
Carolina banged out five more hits in the fifth off junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.)
and totaled three runs for a 20-2 lead. Similar to the second, Grinestaff led off with a home run. Havens singled to left
bounced an RBI double into left field before taking third on a wild pitch. Campbell drove in his
teammate with a base-hit and Giesler poked a single
for his third hit of the afternoon.
Junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.)
began the sixth with his third homer of the season, a shot to straightaway
center. The slugger’s 43rd career round-tripper was his first since socking a
grand slam against Florida A&M on Feb. 22. Junior Conor Lalor replaced Beverly with none out down
in the inning and threw two scoreless innings. Beverly gave up five hits and three runs over
five innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Hurst led off the home portion of the seventh with a single off
sophomore Michael Branham (Tampa, Fla.) and Campbell lofted a triple
off the center-field wall for a 21-3 lead. Cash led off the ninth with his
first homer as a Gator to finalize the margin at 21-4. USC’s
top three hitters in the lineup, Hurst,
Campbell and Giesler, were a combined 10-for-16 with
nine RBI and seven runs. Paxton finished 2-for-6 with three RBI and two runs,
while Havens was 2-for-4 with four runs and a pair of RBI. Florida totaled seven hits from six
different players. For the Gators, Branham gave up three hits and one run over
two innings before junior Steven Porter
threw a scoreless ninth.
resume action on Wednesday night by hosting in-state rival South
Florida (13-11/4-1 Big East entering Sunday) at 6:30 p.m. The
Bulls took both ends of a home-and-home series last season, 8-7 in Gainesville and 11-5 in Tampa.
- The Gators’ four-game slide is
their longest since dropping four straight from May 1-8 last season (7-2
to Tennessee, 9-4 to Florida State,
4-1 and 3-2 (10) at Arkansas.
- The last time Florida
had been swept in a three-game series was by Ole Miss in Gainesville between May 14-16, 2004
(2-4, 1-3, 9-10 (10)).
- The last time Florida
had been swept on the road in SEC play was by Ole Miss in Oxford between May
9-11, 2003 (0-2, 3-8, 2-4).
- The Gators are now 8-18 all-time
and have won just one of the eight series between the clubs at Sarge Frye Field.
- Florida’s worst defeat in school history came at the
hands of Clemson, 24-2, on March 19, 1974.
- The 21 runs allowed were the
most for UF since a 21-17 loss to Stetson on April 11, 2001.
- The previous high for runs
allowed this season by the Gators was 14 against Missouri, a 14-5 Tiger win on Feb. 24.