Florida bashed four home runs and collected sixteen hits in cruising past South Carolina 14-5 on Thursday in their SEC series opener. The Gators, who have now hit 100 home runs as a team this season, scored in every inning but the second and sixth to improve to 34-19 overall and 14-14 in the SEC. USC falls to 26-26 on the season and 12-16 in the league.
Despite being assured of a losing conference record, the Gamecocks have earned a berth in the upcoming SEC tournament. That was achieved when Tennessee destroyed Mississippi State 27-2 on Thursday, clinching a spot for USC in the postseason. Carolina entered the Florida series holding down the #10-seed in next week’s event in Hoover, Alabama.
Florida jumped out in front the way it has done so many times this season, the long ball. Wyatt Langford hit the first of his two homers on the night to center field to give the Gators a 1-0 advantage on USC and starting pitcher Brett Thomas. The junior from Atlanta worked just three innings, giving up four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
USC answered back to take its only lead of the game in the third, as Andrew Eyster drove in a pair of runs with a double to left field. However, the Gators would tie the game in the third, then grab the lead for good with three runs in the fifth. The home team broke the game wide open with two more runs in the seventh and five in the eighth to notch their ninth win in their last eleven outings.
Noah Hall (3-4, 4.40 ERA) is expected to start game two of the series for USC on Friday night. First pitch is set for 7pm on the SEC Network Plus.