Riding high after taking two of three from 4th ranked Vanderbilt over the weekend, USC was brought back down to Earth Tuesday night by Presbyterian College with a 9-6 loss at Founders Park. The Blue Hose have now split their last six games with the Gamecocks.
The Blue Hose led 6-2 going to the bottom of the fourth. The Gamecocks tied the game with two-run singles by Brandt Belk and Kevin Madden. The Gamecocks, who were out hit 12-7, would manage just three hits the rest of the way against the PC bullpen.
Presbyterian retook the lead for good in the top of the seventh with an unearned run. Jay Weatherington reached on an error by third baseman Kevin Madden to open the inning. He avoided a pickoff in a run-down when catcher Colin Burgess threw to second allowing him to scramble back to first. With one out, Weathering stole second, and with two outs, he scored on a double to left center by Chris Veach off Michael Esposito.
The Blue Hose added two insurance runs in the ninth with a leadoff homer by Dalton Reeves and a RBI double by Brody Fahr, both coming off Jalen Vasquez.
Blue Hose relievers Luke Matthews, Logan Ymker and Eric Toth combined to shutout the Gamecocks over the final three innings allowing one hit and walking one. Reliever Clark Dearman, who came in for starter Cobey Kepper in the fourth, earned his first win and Toth picked up his fourth save. Esposito took the loss.
The Gamecocks fell to 12-12 with the loss, and the Blue Hose, who gave up 36 runs in a loss to Campbell Sunday, improved to 10-14 with the win.