South Carolina’s Max Schrock made Tennessee pay for a fielding mistake in the top of the ninth inning, blasting a go-ahead RBI double off the center-field wall to steal a game the Vols looked poised to take for much of the evening Friday.
LB Dantzler led off the inning with a ground ball hit to Vols third baseman Will Maddox. But the ball spun away from the normally sure-handed Maddox.
Despite South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher issuing three walks after not allowing one during a 47-inning span, Tennessee dropped a 5-4 decision to No. 15 South Carolina before a season-high crowd of 3,110.
“It was a good feeling,” Schrock said. “It was a fastball up in the zone, and I was trying not to do too much with it. I stuck the barrel out there and hit it good.”
After the score was tied at 2-2 for three innings, South Carolina (24-7, 6-4 SEC) regained a 4-2 lead in the eighth.
But Tennessee (13-15, 3-7) came surging back in the ensuing half inning.
Freshman outfielder Vincent Jackson flung a pitch to the right-field wall, ushering home Pierce Bily from first. But a South Carolina relay throw sailed toward the Tennessee dugout, scoring Jackson on an error and tying the score at 4-4.
Tennessee took a 2-1 lead in the third inning off a Scott Price RBI single.
As the Leesville native was announced over the public address system and he trotted toward home plate, even those donning garnet and black offered a few claps.
But Price made those fans reconsider moments later, pelting a liner to the left-field grass and later scoring on a Bily sac fly.
After the game, Vols coach Dave Serrano offered a smile drenched in disbelief when addressing a South Carolina bunt in the eighth.
With runners on first and second, South Carolina’s Grayson Greiner dropped a bunt that teetered along the first-base line. Vols catcher David Houser followed its path, waiting for it to roll foul before the dribbler died perfectly on the chalk line.
Moments later, reliever Eric Martin hit a batter to force in a run. South Carolina also scored on a wild pitch that inning.
Tyler Webb (1-1) earned the win in relief in 1 2/3 innings of work with one run allowed, unearned on one hit with a walk and four strikeouts.
Godley (2-3) earned the loss in relief.
“Our guys responded the right way and still had energy in the dugout (after the eighth inning),” USC coach Chad Holbrook said.
“Max got a big hit for us and Tyler Webb was special once again.”
|Saiko lf||4||0||1||1||Maddox 3b||3||1||0||0|
|Vergsn 3b||4||0||1||1||Simcox ss||4||0||1||0|
|Pankke ss||4||0||1||0||Price 1b||5||1||2||1|
|Dantzlr 1b||4||1||0||0||Stewart rf||4||0||1||0|
|Bright rf||4||0||0||0||Bily cf||1||1||0||1|
|Schrck 2b||2||2||1||1||Jackson dh||4||1||1||1|
|Celek dh||3||0||1||0||Smart 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Christn pr||0||1||0||0||Houser c||4||0||0||0|
|Martin ph||1||0||0||0||Wormsley lf||1||0||0||0|
|Greiner c||3||1||2||0||Bennett ph||1||0||0||0|
E—Pankake (12); Maddox (7); Houser (4). DP—UT 1. LOB—S. Carolina 12; UT 8. 2B—Saiko (2); Pankake (4); Schrock (5); Jackson (3). HBP—Vergason; Maddox. SH—Bright (4); English (2); Simcox (5); Bily (4). SF—English (1). Reached on CI—Schrock.
WP—Quillen 2 (8); Martin, E. (4). HBP—by Belcher (Maddox); by Martin, E. (Vergason). CI—Houser.
Umpires: HP: John Brammer 1B: Jeff Head 2B: Troy Fullwood 3B: Bryan Donnelly. T—2:57. A—3,110