The USC baseball season ended Sunday afternoon at Founders Park with a 3-2 loss to Virginia in an elimination game of the Columbia regional. The Gamecocks once again had good enough pitching to win, but not enough offense. Their season ends at 34-23. Virginia will play Old Dominion tonight at 6:00 PM. ODU needs one win to advance to a Super Regional.
The Gamecocks fell behind the Cavaliers 3-0 after the first three innings as starter Brannon Jordan allowed single runs in each of the first three frames. Meantime, Virginia starter Matt Wyatt, who entered with a 5.40 ERA, kept the Gamecocks off the board thru the first five innings allowing two hits and striking out a career high eight.
The Gamecocks finally broke thru against the Virginia bullpen in the sixth. With one out and runners on the corners, Wes Clarke got the runner home from third with a ground out to short.
USC had by far its best chance to take control of the game in the seventh. Brennan Milone led off with his second home run of the season to make it 3-2. Braylen Wimmer and Colin Burgess followed with singles to put runners on first and second.
That brought Joe Satterfield to the plate, and on a 2-0 pitch, he hit a line drive right back to Virgina pitcher Zach Messinger. Messinger knocked the ball down with his glove, recovered and fired to third to start a 1-5-6 double play.
Despite that bad break, the Gamecocks still kept plugging in the inning. Geoge Callil singled sending Satterfield to third. Virginia coach Brian O’Connor then brought in his closer Stephen Schoch to face leadoff hitter Brady Allen. He struck him out on three pitches.
Schoch was practically untouched by the Gamecocks bats the rest of the way. He struck out Andrew Eyster and Clarke to start the eighth and got Josiah Sightler on a pop up to first. And in the ninth, after walking Milone and getting a fielder’s choice at second from Wimmer, Schoch struck out Burgess and Satterfield swinging to end the season for USC.
The Gamecocks’ bullpen was stout as well. Julian Bosnic replaced Jordan in the third and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out over the next 2.1 innings. And Daniel Lloyd finished up allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two.
Gamecock pitchers struck out 11 Cavs, but Gamecock hitters struck out 14 times Sunday and 35 times in their three games in the regional. Against Virginia, the Gamecocks were 3-15 with runners on and 0-4 with runners in scoring position. Virginia was 4-15 and 3-9.