GAINESVILLE, Fla. | In a game where pitching owned the night, South Carolina’s most dominant reliever fell short.
In the seventh inning with the game tied at 1, All-America right-hander Matt Price coughed up the go-ahead run on a solo homer to Florida’s Kamm Washington, as the top-ranked Gators edged the No. 4 Gamecocks 2-1 Saturday night in McKethan Stadium.
After South Carolina freshman Forrest Koumas was pulled following six strong innings, coach Ray Tanner elected to use his top available pitcher.
“We were trying to win the game,” Tanner said. “You have a chance to win the series on the road and I wanted one of our best guys on the mound. That’s why we went to Matt.”
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But Washington ambushed Price (1-2, 4.85), smashing a first-pitch fastball into the left field bleachers for the center fielder’s first home run in 101 at-bats.
Florida ace Hudson Randall tossed his first complete game, striking out four and allowing five hits. The Gators’ right-hander whittled his ERA down to 0.66 and seemingly got stronger as he went on.
After South Carolina (17-5, 3-2 SEC) plated its only run on the evening in the third inning, Randall went into cruise control, retiring the final 19 batters he faced.
“He’s very, very good,” Tanner said. “Greg Maddox-like. He’s very efficient. He doesn’t waste a lot of pitches. Less than 90 pitches for a complete game is very impressive.”
Randall’s off-speed pitches frustrated the Gamecocks’ offense, as they continually rolled over top of balls or hit weak pop-ups to the outfield.
“He made adjustments and that’s what good pitchers do,” South Carolina center fielder Jackie Bradley said.
Bradley had the most luck against Randall, going 2 for 4, but said the adjustments they were trying to make did not turn out their way.
Koumas, filling in for USC lefty Steven Neff — who was scratched with soreness in his bicep — nearly matched Randall for six innings in his first start.
The right-hander allowed two hits while striking out five.
In the third inning Florida (21-3, 4-1) scored its only run on Koumas after the freshman loaded the bases without surrendering a hit.
Sandwiched between an Adrian Morales error, Koumas (2-0, 2.79) hit two Gators with curveballs. But the freshman regrouped, escaping the jam after allowing one run on a sacrifice fly.
“Koumas did a super job for us,” Tanner said. “He battled and was a little bit erratic at times, but his stuff was good and he gave us a chance to win.”
|Adam Matthews rf||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Peter Mooney ss||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||4||0|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||4||0||1||0||0||0||6||0||1|
|Adrian Morales 3b||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||2|
|Jake Williams dh||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Brady Thomas c||3||0||1||0||0||1||8||0||0|
|Robert Beary lf||3||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||0|
|Scott Wingo 2b||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||4||1|
|Forrest Koumas p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Price p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Nolan Fontana ss||3||0||0||1||0||1||0||3||0|
|Daniel Pigott lf||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||0||1|
|Preston Tucker rf||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||0||2|
|Austin Maddox 1b||2||0||0||0||1||0||9||2||0|
|Brian Johnson dh||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0|
|Paul Wilson pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Mike Zunino c||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||1||3|
|Kamm Washington cf||2||2||1||1||0||1||3||0||1|
|Josh Adams 2b||3||0||1||0||0||0||5||4||0|
|Jeff Moyer 3b||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||1||0|
|Zack Powers 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hudson Randall p||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0|
E - Morales(5); Moyer(4). DP - S. Carolina 2; UF 1. LOB - S. Carolina 4; UF 7. HR - Washington(2). HBP - Maddox; Washington; Moyer. SF - Fontana(3).
|Matt Price L,1-2||2.0||1||1||1||2||3||0||0||0||0||7||9||2||1||40|
|Hudson Randall W,4-0||9.0||5||1||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||32||32||13||9||97|
Win - Randall (4-0). Loss - Price (1-2). Save - None. HBP - by Koumas (Maddox); by Koumas (Washington); by Koumas (Moyer). Pitches/strikes: Koumas 76/46; Price 40/25; Randall 97/74.
Umpires - HP: Danny Everett 1B: Jack Cox 3B: Jeff Head
Start: 7:06 pm