USC dropped the Friday night game at Florida 8-0 and with it the series to the Gators. Gamecock head coach Mark Kingston wasn’t around to see the second half of the game. He was ejected in the fifth inning. USC has been outscored 22-5 in the first two games of the series.
The Gamecocks managed just three hits, including a pair of doubles, off a trio of Florida pitchers. They struck out 11 times and did not manage to work a walk. The Gamecocks were 0-7 with runners on base. They never got a runner past second base and their final 19 batters were retired in order. In the field, the Gamecocks committed two errors.
Noah Hall (3-5) started for the Gamecocks and threw 88 pitches over three innings. He allowed four hits and three runs, but only one earned. He also walked a pair. Cam Tringali followed and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. And Parker Coyne finished up and yielded two runs on two hits and two walks.
Brandon Neely (3-1) pitched the first seven innings for the Gators and gave up the three hits while striking out ten. Two relievers were perfect over the final two innings. The three Gator pitchers threw 85 strikes on their 115 pitches.
The Gators scored all the runs they needed in the third inning. Two of the three runs were unearned due to a throwing error on Jalen Vasquez. The Gators stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fifth on a two run homer by Josh Rivera. There final three runs were produced by the Fabian brothers. Jud had a solo homer in the seventh and an RBI double in the eighth. And Deric delivered an RBI double in the seventh.
It’s the fourth shutout of the season for USC, all in SEC play. The Gamecocks are 26-27 overall and 12-17 in the SEC. They will be either the ten or eleventh seed for next week’s SEC Tournament meaning they will play in one of the first two games on Tuesday. A win Saturday, or a loss by Alabama to Arkansas, will give the Gamecocks the 10th seed.
USC played without leading hitter Brandt Belk due to a foot injury suffered Thursday night. Coach Mark Kingston could not say after the game if Belk would be able to play Saturday. He also did not commit to Will Sanders starting Saturday as he weighs the possibility of holding him for the Tuesday start.