South Carolina sweeps the Vols

After the Tennessee softball team faced a shutout by South Carolina last weekend, the Vols baseball team sought a chance for vengeance. However, they met the same fate as the Lady Vols. The Gamecocks swept the Vols by a combined score of 18-6 in the weekend series.

Errors plagued the Vols in game one on Thursday.

“I thought having four mistakes in the first inning that were pretty obvious to see cost us,” Tennessee Head Coach Tony Vitello said. “From there it’s hard to come back.”

On Thursday, the Vols lost by the score of 6-1 at Founders Park in Columbia, South Carolina. Freshman Garrett Crochet started for Tennessee on the bump, pitching four innings and allowing six runs on seven hits. South Carolina sounded on the scoreboard early, after ringing in three runs in the first inning.

The Volunteers first run of the game didn’t come until the eighth inning off a single from infielder Brandon Chinea. Gamecocks pitcher Adam Hill threw a no-hitter through five innings and notched four strikeouts in the win.

Game two resulted in a similar fashion for the orange-and-white, as they fell 6-2 on Friday. The Vols struggled to get their bats going again. They tallied seven hits on the day but didn’t bring in their first run until the sixth inning. Tennessee had runners in scoring position in the first and third inning but failed to capitalize.

Sophomore Garrett Stallings took the mound for the Volunteers and allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings of work. Sophomore outfielder Justin Ammons recorded each of Tennessee’s two runs on the evening. South Carolina once again found a solid foundation in pitching, as Cody Morris dealt six innings for five strikeouts and one earned run in the win.

“We didn’t really capture the momentum, I think that we captured the essence of what we’re trying to do which is play hard,” Vitello said after the loss on Friday. “That’s all we can ask from them, to show up and compete the way they did.”

The Volunteers looked to bounce back in game three, but the Gamecocks got the best of them once again on Saturday. In the 6-3 loss, Vols junior pitcher Will Neely allowed two runs on seven hits in his five innings on the mound.

Tennessee found all its runs in the fourth inning, as sophomore infielder Andre Lipcius and freshman designated hitter Evan Russell combined for three RBI’s.

In the seventh inning, Tennessee had the bases loaded with two outs to give the Vols a convincing lead but struck out to end the frame. Ammons shined as the one bright spot for Tennessee in the tough series against the Gamecocks, as he went 3-for-9 from the plate over the weekend and scored three runs. Ammons also reached base nine times and drew four walks.

The Volunteers’ four-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt. Tennessee will look to end its losing streak against Belmont on April 3. After their midweek game against the Bruins, the Vols will host the Florida Gators for a three-game weekend series in Knoxville. First pitch for the game against Belmont is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Written by Cole McCormick

Edited by Seth Raborn/Lexie Little

Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

 

Missed opportunities cost Vols in 6-4 loss to Gamecocks

Tennessee had plenty of chances against No. 8 South Carolina in the second game of the weekend series.

The Vols (12-4, 0-2 SEC), though, couldn’t capitalize on most, leaving 10 runners on base in a 6-4 loss to No. 12 South Carolina (13-5, 2-0 SEC) in 10 innings.

It was a pitcher’s duel through the first two innings between South Carolina starter and Sevierville native Wil Crowe and Zach Warren of Tennessee. Jordan Rodgers reached on a single in the bottom half of the first, but Tennessee couldn’t cash it in. The Vols then had two men reach in the second, but again failed to plate any runs.

Tennessee changed its luck in the bottom half of the third. After walks from Jay Charleston and Jordan Rodgers, first baseman Andre Lipcus knocked in the first run of the game with an RBI single that skirted through the right side of the Gamecocks’ defense. In the following at-bat, Jordan Rodgers scored the Vols’ second run of the game when South Carolina catcher Hunter Taylor bobbled the ball while trying to throw Lipcus out at second.

South Carolina quickly struck back to take the lead in the next inning. Gamecock center fielder TJ Hopkins lead off the inning with a solo homer to left field. Zach Warren then walked the next two batters, but forced South Carolina designated hitter Chris Cullen to ground into a double play to get two quick outs. However, Gamecock third baseman Jonah Bride hit the very next pitch over the wall in deep left center, scoring two and giving South Carolina and 3-2 lead.

Three consecutive singles from Max Bartlett, Brodie Leftridge and Jeff Moberg in the bottom of the inning tied things up at three. With a chance for more, though, the Vols stranded Leftridge on second base after he he made it there with only one out.

In the fifth, the Vols put Derkay and Lipcus on first and third with only one out in the inning. However, pop outs from right fielder Dom Thornton and Bartlett ended Tennessee’s hope of taking the lead.

In the top of the sixth, South Carolina worked Warren into a jam. After a walk, wild pitch and single, the Gamecocks put runners on first and third with only one out. Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano went to the bullpen, bringing in freshman Zach Linginfelter, who got two quick outs to end the threat.

South Carolina scored an unearned run to start the eighth to go back on top, 4-3. In the bottom half of the inning, Matt Waldren pinch-hit for Dom Thornton and hit his first career home run to tie the game at four. Unfortunately for the Vols, they also left two runners on to end the inning after Jay Charleston struck out looking.

After an uneventful ninth, the game moved to extra innings. Linginfelter pitched into the 10th but was pulled for closer Jon Lipinski after surrendering a single and two walks to load the bases. After getting the second out, Lipinski then walked Bride to score the go-ahead run. South Carolina right fielder Jacob Olsen was then hit by a pitch to put the score at 6-4.

The Vols put two men on in the bottom of the inning. but failed one last time to get hits with runners in scoring position.

Tennessee plays No. 8 South Carolina in the last game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee drops SEC opener to No. 12 South Carolina

Tennessee (12-3) dropped its SEC opener to No. 12 South Carolina (12-5) on Friday night, 7-1.

Hunter Martin received the start for Tennessee, turning in an impressive outing. The senior pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, six hits, one walk and striking out seven. Martin also got the loss on the evening.

Martin set down the Gamecocks in order during four separate innings and worked himself out of multiple jams to keep the game close. In the top of the third, the senior induced a ground ball for a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out to end the inning.

In the top of the third inning, South Carolina jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when designated hitter TJ Hopkins singled up the middle to drive in Jacob Olson.

Martin kept South Carolina in check after that, however, until the seventh inning.

The Vols’ familiar faces tied things up before that, though. Tennessee third baseman Jordan Rodgers hit a double off the left field wall to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. In the next at-bat, Benito Santiago flew out to left, allowing Rodgers to tag up to third. With one out, freshman Andre Lipcius singled to score Rodgers from third and tie the game up at 1-1.

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long, as the Gamecocks scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth inning.

The damage in the seventh came on one swing from Olson. His towering three-run homer over the left field fence broke the tie and give South Carolina a 4-1 lead.

Jacob Olson got the scoring going for the Gamecocks in the top of the eighth inning, hitting a solo home run to extend South Carolina’s lead to 5-1. Shortstop Madison Stokes then doubled to score third baseman Jonah Bride, making it a 6-1 ball game. South Carolina concluded the eighth with a 7-1 lead after LT Tolbert hit an RBI single.

Tennessee’s bats were cold for much of the evening, only tallying seven hits. The Vols struck out eight times and left seven runners on base.

South Carolina right hander Adam Hill received the start for the Gamecocks, pitching 6.0 innings. Hill gave up six hits, one earned run, three walks and struck out five.

Game two of the three-game series is set for tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Senior southpaw Zach Warren (2-1, 3.44 ERA) is set to receive the start on the mound for the Vols.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Alison P. McNabb, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics