Maybe USC should rethink this mid-season “college baseball classic” thing in Charlotte with North Carolina. The series, now two years old, is owned by the Tar Heels. Gamecock fans thought last year’s 15-0 skunking was embarrassing? Try Tuesday night’s 20-4 debacle on for size.
At least in 2016 it took the Tar Heels four innings to score. Tuesday night they put four runs on the board against starter Cody Morris in the first and the rout was on. Even when the Gamecocks found some hope with two runs in the top of the second, the Tar Heels responded with two runs of their own.
Throw in a six spot in the fourth and a seven spot in the seventh, and you have one of South Carolina’s most embarrassing defeats considering this was a top five team in the pre-season polls.
The seventh inning could be recorded as one of the worst, if not the worst, pitched inning in Gamecock history. The Tar Heels scored their seven runs in the inning on just two hits. But Gamecock pitchers allowed seven walks, three with the bases loaded, hit a batter with the bases loaded and had a wild pitch that scored a run.
For the night, USC used ten pitchers. They combined for 197 pitches, 97 of them balls.
Bright spots? Closer Tyler Johnson made his first appearance since straining his forearm in the Clemson series and had a 1-2-3 8th. His fastball was clocking well into the 90s. And LT Tolbert continued his hot hitting with a two run homer and three RBIs.
The Gamecocks will quickly flush this one and get ready for Mississippi State at home this weekend with the knowledge that after losing big in Charlotte last spring they went on to finish in the top four in the SEC and reach a Super Regional. To suggest they can do that again, at this point, indeed looks like a reach.
Chad Holbrook postgame media gaggle
2nd baseman LT Tolbert
Closer Tyler Johnson on returning to the mound