USC’s hole in the SEC East got a little bigger Friday night with a 5-4 loss to Tennessee at Carolina Stadium. The loss drops the Gamecocks to 3-7 in the conference, tying them for last place in the division.
This is the seventh one run loss of the season for USC (21-9). A team that seemingly caught all the breaks the past two seasons suddenly can’t find the plays needed to get over the hump. The baseball gods aren’t smiling on the Gamecocks much these days.
What makes this loss sting even more for USC is the fact the Vols winning run came on a mistake from one of its best players. Matt Price’s throwing error on what would have been an inning ending double play in the ninth allowed the winning run to score. With one out and runners on the corners, Tennesse third baseman Zach Luther popped up his bunt attempt directly to Price. Vols shortstop Zach Osborne was halfway down the third baseline, but Price threw wide of the bag trying to when he was trying to double him off. The ball trickled out to left field and Osborne came in with the winning run.
Give the game ball to Tennessee’s Drew Steckenrider. He started the game at DH and finished on the mound. At the plate, his two run homer in the sixth off Michael Roth put the Vols up 3-2. Steckenrider came in to pitch with two outs in the sixth inning and proceeded to strike out six hitters in his 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed just two hits and didn’t give up a run.
Price, who threw 50 pitches out of the bullpen, took the loss. He falls to 3-3 this season. The Gamecocks will send freshman lefty Jordan Montgomery to the mound Saturday night. First pitch is 8:00 on ESPNU.
AUDIO: Ray Tanner postgame [4:21]
AUDIO: Matt Price postgame [2:07]