Junior Harris Honeycutt (7-0) matched a career-high
with 11 strikeouts over six shutout innings as fourth-ranked South Carolina
(25-6/6-4 SEC) claimed the opener of its weekend series at No. 22 Florida
(19-14/7-3 SEC) with a 12-2 victory on Friday night in front of 4,090 fans at McKethan Stadium. Junior Travis Jones went 3-for-4 with a
couple of home runs and drove in a season-high five RBI to help the Gamecocks
snap the Gators’ winning streak at eight games.
elevated pitches and got lateral on some breaking balls,” said head coach Pat McMahon. He did well though, with
the exception of the four-spot in the third inning. He wanted to get back out
there and compete after that. You want that out of your Friday night guy, and
he has earned the right to pitch. Offensively, we didn’t come up with the
clutch hits that we have been doing. South
Carolina is an excellent team, and we’re going to
focus on preparing for tomorrow now.”
The visitors drew first blood against junior Bryan Augenstein
(Sebastian, Fla.) on a Gator error in the first
inning. Junior Harley Lail opened the game with a
single into left and moved into scoring position with his sixth stolen base. A
ground ball by sophomore James Darnell pushed Lail to
third and junior Trent Kline’s pop-up was dropped by freshman shortstop Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
to bring across the unearned run.
A two-out rally in the second yielded another score
for the Gamecocks. Augenstein set down the first two
batters before surrendering a base-hit to Jones. Sophomore Reese Havens stroked
a single into right for runners on the corners and Lail’s
RBI blooper just beyond first base gave USC a 2-0 lead.
Carolina used a
pair of two-run homers in the third off Augenstein to
build a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore Justin Smoak
extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a one-out single and took second
on junior Phil Disher’s grounder to third. Sophomore
Andrew Crisp belted his second round-tripper of the year into the left-field
bleachers and senior Robbie Grinestaff punched a single
into left. Jones put the visitors up by six runs with a line-drive homer into
the left-field bleachers.
The Gators loaded the bases with two down in the
fourth but could not push anything across. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) and freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) delivered back-to-back singles and junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.)
walked to fill the sacks. Honeycutt had sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs,
Fla.) tap back to the mound
to retire the side.
“We came in off a run of eight wins, and everyone
was excited and up-tempo to play tonight,” Neer said.
“Then the first few innings were rough outings for us, and South Carolina kept making good swings.
Their pitching was great, too. We are still feeling good, and we are ready to
come out here tomorrow.”
The Garnet and Black tacked on two more runs on two
hits and a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Crisp started the frame with an infield
hit and scored all the way from first base on a double to the center-field wall
by Grinestaff. Jones laid down a sacrifice bunt to
advance senior pinch runner Cheyne Hurst, and Havens
lofted a sac fly to center field to provide the Gamecocks with an 8-0 lead.
Jones blasted a three-run shot in the seventh, his
second homer of the night, to balloon South
Carolina’s margin to 11-0. Disher
doubled to left center and Andrew Crisp followed with a base-hit as sophomore
pinch runner Adam Crisp remained on second base. Jones cranked Augenstein’s 2-2 pitch high over the left-field bleachers
to end the night for the right-hander, who allowed 14 hits and totaled seven
strikeouts over 6.1 innings to fall to 3-4 on the season.
The Gators broke through for two runs on three hits
in the eighth off junior reliever Sean Wideberg to
get on the scoreboard. Freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota,
Fla.) drew a pinch-hit walk
with two down and den Dekker poked his second hit of the contest. Townsend and
freshman Clayton Pisani
delivered consecutive RBI singles for an 11-2 margin, prompting a pitching
change. Junior Wynn Pelzer induced an inning-ending fielder’s choice by senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.).
The Gamecocks tacked on their final run in the ninth on a wild pitch by
sophomore J.K. LaCoste
Carolina out-hit the Gators, 16-10, as
five different players turned in multiple-hit outings. Neer
had a career-high three hits for UF, while den Dekker and Townsend contributed
two hits apiece. The hosts stranded 14 runners and committed three errors. Freshman left-hander Tony
Davis (Cooper City,
(2-0, 0.87) will start tomorrow’s second game at 4 p.m. against USC sophomore
left-hander Will Atwood (1-1, 2.45).