Hoover, AL: USC players will need a change of underwear this time in Hoover. For the first time since 2018, the Gamecocks Tuesday won a game at the SEC Tournament defeating Georgia 9-0 to advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament. The win snapped a five-game losing streak in the tournament for the sixth seeded Gamecocks who improved to 39-17 and will face #3 seed LSU Wednesday morning.
The Gamecocks put together one of their best all-around games of the season against the Bulldogs who they had swept in the regular season. James Hicks and Cade Austin combined on the team’s first shutout of the season in SEC games, and the Gamecocks’ first shutout ever in SEC Tournament play. Hicks (7-1) scattered four hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out six, walked two and hit a batter. Hicks threw a career high of 90 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Hicks was in trouble only three times. In the second, the Bulldogs had runners on first and second with two outs, but Hicks got a strikeout to end the threat. In the fifth, Georgia had runners on first and second with no one out. Hicks got a pop up, a fielder’s choice and a strike out to end the inning. And in the seventh, a two-out walk, double and a hit batter loaded the bases. Austin came in for Hicks and got out of the jam with a strikeout.
Austin allowed a walk in the eighth and a single in the ninth, but otherwise had no problems finishing the game in earning his second save of the season.
The Gamecocks scored all the runs they would need in the second on a two-out, bases loaded single to left by Evan Stone. They added three more runs in the fourth on RBI singles from Dylan Brewer and Michael Braswell and a bases loaded walk by Cole Messina. Will Tippett put the game away in the seventh with a bases loaded triple to make it 8-0. Ethan Petry closed out the scoring with a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth.
The bottom of the lineup delivered a bulk of the Gamecocks’ 15 hits. Tippett, Brewer and Stone, batting seventh through ninth in the order, combined for six hits and six runs batted in.
The Gamecocks are now 30-51 all-time in the SEC Tournament, and USC coach Mark Kingston picked up his 450th career win.