USC rode the emotional rollercoaster Friday going from third place in the SEC East after a game one loss to LSU back into the lead for the SEC title after winning game two 5-4. That victory coupled with Kentucky’s 4-3 loss to Mississippi State Friday night means the Gamecocks will win the SEC title by beating LSU Saturday regardless of what else happens in the league. The Gamecocks are 18-10 in SEC play while Kentucky, Florida and LSU are 18-11.
AUDIO: Ray Tanner [10:18]
The Gamecocks had to battle from behind to win the nightcap of the doubleheader after dropping the opener 5-2. LSU led 3-0 going to the bottom of the 6th but the Gamecocks turned the game around with a four run rally.
Christian Walker delivered the big blow with a mammouth three run homer to left field off LSU starter Aaron Nola, his team leading 10th homer of the season. Later in the inning, Grayson Greiner reached on a single and scored the go ahead run on a triple by Joey Pankake.
AUDIO: Adam Matthews & Christian Walker [5:15]
USC made it 5-3 in the next inning. With two outs, Evan Marzilli walked and stole second. Adam Matthews, who had three hits, delivered Marzilli with a sharp double to left.
That insurance run turned out to be big because the Tigers got to Gamecock ace closer Matt Price in the 8th. Price gave up a leadoff double to the #9 hitter Tyler Hanover to open the frame. Austin Nola then dropped a bloop single into center. Hanover had to wait on the ball to drop and only advance to third. Price got a pair of strikeouts before Raph Rymes singled to center to score Hanover. Price struck out Tyler Moore to end the threat and preserve the lead.
The Tigers did not threaten in the ninth as Price struck out two more batters around a line out to second to record his 9th save of the season. He struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced and threw 45 pitches.
AUDIO: Matt Price [1:49]
AUDIO: Michael Roth [3:44]
Tyler Webb, who relieved starter Forrest Koumas in the 5th, earned his 5th win against no defeats . LSU starter Aaron Nola suffered the loss to fall to 6-4.
The Gamecocks improve to 39-14 overall while LSU drops to 41-14. The rubber game of the series will be Saturday at 1:00 PM on ESPNU. Righthander Colby Holmes will start for USC. LSU will go with sophomore righthander Ryan Eades.