Junior Trent Kline snapped a 6-6 tie with a two-run
homer in the 11th as No. 4 South Carolina (26-7/7-5 SEC) claimed the rubber
match of its weekend series at No. 22 Florida
(20-15/8-4 SEC), 8-6, on Easter Sunday at McKethan
Stadium. Junior Travis Jones (4-for-5, five RBI) tied the game with a three-run
blast in the ninth and had a run-scoring single in the 10th for the Gamecocks.
He was 10-for-12 (.833) with 11 RBI over the three games, including a pair of
homers this afternoon, and socked five four-baggers versus the Gators.
In the 11th, junior Harley Lail
drew a leadoff walk from senior Steven
Porter (Ocoee, Fla.) (0-2) and was sacrificed into
scoring position on a bunt by sophomore James Darnell. Kline then cranked an 0-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his fifth
home run to provide the winning margin. Senior Jeff Jeffords (3-0) threw a
career-high 6.2 innings of relief to secure the victory. The right-hander faced
26 batters, allowed three hits and an unearned run.
After surrendering Jones’ home run with one down in
the ninth and the Gators up 5-2, junior Josh
Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.)
retired the Gamecocks’ first two batters in the 10th. Sophomore Andrew Crisp
legged out an infield hit to short and senior Cheyne
Hurst was hit by a pitch to bring up Jones. The junior looped an RBI single
into shallow left field to score Crisp from second to give the visitors a 6-5
A throwing error with two down in the bottom of the
stanza by third baseman Darnell enabled the Gators to tie the game. Junior Jon Townsend (London,
Ky.) poked a one-out single off Jeffords
and senior Matt LaPorta’s
(Port Charlotte, Fla.) potential game-ending grounder was
thrown away, allowing Townsend to score from first base with the tying run and LaPorta to occupy third. After a walk to freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee,
Fla.) and a stolen base, senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) walked to load the sacks. Jeffords
rebounded to have sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.)
fly out to right to bring UF’s number of runners
stranded to 15.
Darnell put the Gamecocks on the board in the first
with a solo shot off freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.).
His ninth round-tripper of the year came with one down and landed just beyond
the left-field fence.
grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Leclerc. Townsend led off with a
double to left center but was picked off second base. Sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.)
punched a base-hit into right and LaPorta drew a walk
from freshman Blake Cooper. The right-hander uncorked a wild pitch to move both
runners into scoring position. A groundout by Figueroa brought across Barnes
and Leclerc’s base-knock into shallow right scored LaPorta.
The Gators loaded the bases with two down in the
third but could not push anything across. LaPorta
raised his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to start the inning and
Figueroa earned a free pass. Although Leclerc smoked
a ball just beyond the reach of sophomore shortstop Reese Havens, the infielder
alertly picked up the ball and threw LaPorta out at
third. Neer flew out to center, advancing Figueroa,
and Leclerc raced down to second when a pickoff
attempt went down to third. Junior Bryson
Barber (Pensacola, Fla.)
walked to load the bases and Cooper worked out of the jam by having senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.)
ground out to second.
Figueroa greeted sophomore reliever Alex Farotto with a two-out double in the fourth to give Florida a 3-1 lead. Freshman
Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
drew a leadoff walk and stole second with one down for his second theft of the
afternoon. den Dekker moved to third on Barnes’ roller
to first and LaPorta was given a free pass
intentionally for the 12th time this year. Farotto
replaced Cooper (3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 6 BB) and Figueroa
roped a 3-2 pitch into left center for his fifth two-bagger.
Jones belted his seventh homer of the year with one
down in the fifth to pull Carolina
within 3-2 and end the day for Bullock. Over 4.1 innings, the righty yielded six hits and two runs with one strikeout.
Without the benefit of a hit, the Gators built a
three-run lead with two runs in the home part of the inning. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.)
drew a pinch-hit walk with one out, moved into scoring position with his fifth
stolen base and went to third when the relay throw landed in center field. A
walk to Petrie gave the Gators runners on the corners and den Dekker’s
fielder’s choice plated Pride and left UF with two men aboard as Petrie eluded
the tag by Jones running to second. A free pass to Townsend loaded the bases
and Barnes’ base on balls resulted in a 5-2 score and a pitching change. Jeffords
took over for Farotto (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 4 BB) and had LaPorta ground into
an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
Jones later tied the game in the ninth with a
three-run homer off Edmondson. Junior Phil Disher
opened with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Crisp. A
pinch-hit single by freshman Kyle Enders left USC with runners on the corners
and prompted a pitching change. Edmondson came in for Hurst (4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R,
4 K) and Jones launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in center to knot the game at
five runs apiece. Edmondson had Havens ground out before permitting back-to-back
singles by Lail and Darnell. The righty
had Kline fly out to strand the runners.
Carolina held an 18-10 advantage in
hits, as the top six hitters in the lineup had two apiece and Jones matched his
career best of four hits. Barnes and Townsend were each 2-for-5 for Florida, which left 16
runners on base. The Gators return to action on Tuesday night when they host
UCF at 6:30 p.m. UF handled the Golden Knights, 10-3, in Orlando last March.