Matt Connolly

10 games that got away from the Gamecocks

Clemson outfielder Seth Beer rounds the bases after a ninth inning home run against South Carolina at Founders Park on March 5.
Clemson outfielder Seth Beer rounds the bases after a ninth inning home run against South Carolina at Founders Park on March 5. Special to The State

Base-running blunder

March 4: Clemson 8, USC 7

South Carolina was leading 5-2 entering the seventh inning when the bullpen unraveled. The Tigers scored six runs in the final three innings. USC had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, but the tying run was thrown out at the plate with one out. Getting runners thrown out on the base paths has been a problem for USC all season.

Beer’s blast

March 5: Clemson 5, USC 3 (11)

The Gamecocks still had a chance to win the series with Clemson, leading 3-2 in the ninth inning, but Josh Reagan threw several curveballs in a row to Tigers All-American Seth Beer. Beer hit a full count curveball out of the park. Clemson went on to win in extra innings. USC needed one run in the bottom of the ninth to win and had its leading RBI producer up with two on, but Alex Destino was pinch hit for and Justin Row popped up the bunt. USC didn’t score the rest of the game.

Out of gas

March 24: Alabama 4, USC 2

USC scored two runs on four hits in the first inning but did not score the rest of the game in a loss to the Crimson Tide. The win is one of two SEC wins for Alabama (2-19 SEC) this season.

Tigers walk off

April 2: Auburn 6, USC 5

The Gamecocks led 5-3 on the road against one of the top teams in the SEC when Josh Reagan took the mound in the ninth inning to close out the game. Auburn opened the frame with back-to-back singles but was down to its final out still trailing by two when freshman Conor Davis hit a pinch hit walk-off homer. The homer remains the only one of Davis’ career.

Walks will haunt

April 7: Vanderbilt 5, USC 3 (13)

South Carolina led 3-2 entering the top of the ninth inning when Colie Bowers allowed a leadoff walk that came around to score on a two-out RBI single to left as USC’s bullpen blew a save opportunity for the second time in as many series.

Tar Heel beat down

April 11: North Carolina 20, USC 5

The Gamecocks were looking for payback against North Carolina after being handed a historically bad loss to UNC in 2016. Instead, the Tar Heels handed the Gamecocks a second consecutive embarrassing loss in Charlotte.

Unearned runs

April 14: Mississippi State 7, USC 4

USC allowed five unearned runs in a loss to the Bulldogs. Gamecocks ace Clarke Schmidt was incredible, but it didn’t matter as USC made three errors.

Gators’ Grand Slam

April 22: Florida 7, USC 5

USC led the Gators 5-3 entering the eighth inning and appeared to be in position to finally earn a big series win. Instead the bullpen blew another late lead as two walks led to JJ Schwarz blasting a grand slam off Colie Bowers.

Embarrassing defeat

April 28: Kentucky 19, USC 1

Chad Holbrook asked for fans to come out and support his team in a critical series with the Wildcats. In front of more than 7,000 fans, USC suffered its worst loss in 20 years. USC made errors, allowed passed balls and played uninspired for nine innings in the embarrassing defeat.

Costly error

April 30: Kentucky 9, USC 4

USC fought back from an early deficit to tie the game at 4, but defense and pitching let the Gamecocks down late. Relievers Tyler Johnson and Colie Bowers struggled to throw strikes, and LT Tolbert allowed two runs to score on an error as USC dropped its fifth straight series for the first time since joining the SEC as the Gamecocks surrendered five runs in the final two innings.

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