The Tennessee Volunteers entered this weekend’s SEC series with South Carolina as the country’s best hitting team and its most powerful. From a USC perspective, the Vols certainly looked the part. Tennessee smashed ten homeruns in the three games, scored twenty-three runs, and got terrific pitching to sweep the opening series of SEC play, finishing it off Sunday with a 10-0 triumph over USC. The loss drops the Gamecocks to 10-9 overall and 0-3 in the league, while Tennessee moved to 19-1, remaining perfect at home with its 17th straight victory in Knoxville.
As big as the Orange have been offensively this season, it was pitching that set the tone on Sunday. USC registered its only hit of the game in the 7th inning, a double off of the bat of Brandt Belk. Otherwise, it was freshman right hander Drew Beam who took a Sunday stroll through the Carolina lineup. Beam pitched 7.2 scoreless innings on just eighty-six pitches: allowing the one hit by Belk, while recording three strikeouts. For the weekend, Tennessee’s staff K’d 30 USC batters and walked just three.
USC freshman Matthew Becker pitcher better than the final score might indicate for the Gamecocks. The Chapin left-hander worked five innings, allowing two runs on two hits, both on solo homeruns in the third inning. He also struck out seven in 96 pitches to try and give USC a puncher’s chance. Tennessee feasted on the USC bullpen to blow open the game, scoring four runs in the sixth, two in the seventh, and two more in the eighth.
The Gamecocks will look to bounce back on Tuesday as they travel to Charleston to face The Citadel at 7pm. USC hosts Vanderbilt in their next SEC series starting on Thursday, March 24th at 8pm