South Carolina freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas worked a career-high 7.1 innings and struck out a career-high seven batters and the Gamecocks rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to come from behind and defeat Tennessee 2-1 to sweep a three-game SEC baseball series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Carolina is 26-5 and 10-2 in the SEC while the loss drops Tennessee to 19-13 and 2-10 in league play.
After yielding a run in the first inning, Koumas settled in and limited the Vols to just three hits on the afternoon and two walks while tallying seven strikeouts. He improves to 4-0 on the year with the win. Sophomore right-hander Matt Price closed the game out with 1.1 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts to pick up his 10th save of the season and his third save of the series. Tennessee reliever Carter Watson suffered the loss and is now 5-2 on the year. He allowed two runs on three hits in two innings with two strikeouts and a walk.
Tennessee broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Khayyan Norfork singled to left field and Andrew Toles was hit by a pitch to give the Volunteers a pair of runners. After a sacrifice bunt, Norfork would score on Charley Thurber’s RBI ground out to Wingo at second base.
Carolina was limited for most the afternoon but broke through in the sixth inning. Robert Beary singled to left field to open the frame, Peter Mooney also singled to left-center and Scott Wingo beat out a bunt for a base hit to load the bases. The Gamecocks would tie it on Jackie Bradley Jr’s RBI sacrifice fly to right field. On the play, Robert Beary just beat a throw at the plate by right fielder Charley Thurber. That brought out UT head coach Todd Raleigh, who was ejected in an argument with the home plate umpire. With runners on second and third, Carolina took a 2-1 lead on Christian Walker’s RBI single to right field.
With a one-run lead, Koumas, John Taylor and Price would lead the way for Carolina to the victory although there was a pair of scoring chances for UT in the eighth and ninth innings. UT threatened in the eighth inning with the bases loaded but Price got out of the jam with a fielder’s choice to Wingo at second base. In the ninth inning, Zach Osborne led off with a single and was sacrificed into scoring position. Price settled in though, and struck out Chris Fritts swinging and caught Josh Liles with a called third strike fastball right down the middle to seal a Gamecock win.
Wingo was steady with the glove on the afternoon and led Carolina with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Osborne was 2-for-4 to lead Tennessee.
It was a tremendous weekend for the Gamecock pitchers, allowing just one run in 27 innings of work vs. the Volunteers. Left-hander Michael Roth got it started on Thursday with his seventh victory and was followed up by career-long outings by right-handers Colby Holmes and Forrest Koumas.
South Carolina will return to action on Tuesday night at The Citadel with first pitch at Joe Riley Park set for 7 p.m. The Gamecocks are back home next weekend hosting a three-game series vs. Vanderbilt.