USC Gamecocks Baseball

Late grand slam lifts Gators to series win over Gamecocks

South Carolina pitcher Colie Bowers (40) allowed a grand slam in the eighth inning Saturday.
South Carolina pitcher Colie Bowers (40) allowed a grand slam in the eighth inning Saturday. jblake@thestate.com

South Carolina’s late-inning bullpen struggles came back to bite the Gamecocks again.

JJ Schwarz hit a grand slam off USC reliever Colie Bowers in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Florida to a 7-5 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.

South Carolina (24-15, 9-9) was searching for its first series win at Florida (27-13, 10-8) since 2011 and its first SEC series win since March.

Instead, the Gamecocks lost their fourth straight SEC series, all by a 2-1 margin.

“Obviously, a heartbreaking loss. Our kids played their tails off for eight innings and you have one bad little spurt there and it cost us the game,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “It’s heartbreaking for our kids because they laid it out on the line.”

USC led entering the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to an offense that found life over the past couple of days.

Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by LT Tolbert and an RBI groundout by Carlos Cortes.

After Florida tied the score at 2 with a run in the second and another in the third, the Gamecocks went back on top in the fifth inning on a Cortes RBI double.

The Gators answered with a run in the sixth to again tie the score before Chris Cullen hit a two-run homer to left to give USC a 5-3 lead in the seventh.

Carolina held its lead until Schwarz’s grand slam.

South Carolina outhit Florida 13-7 but stranded eight runners on base. USC pitchers walked eight batters in the loss, with starter Adam Hill walking four, Josh Reagan walking three and Bowers walking one.

Hill lasted 3 1/3 innings while surrendering four hits, walking four and giving up two runs.

Reagan surrendered only a solo homer in his first 3 2/3 innings of relief before running into trouble in the top of the eighth.

He was replaced by Bowers after allowing a leadoff single and walk.

Bowers issued a four-pitch walk and fell behind 1-0 to Schwarz before the Gators’ slugger drilled a pitch well over the left field wall.

“We outhit them 13-7 but they made their hits count,” Holbrook said. “In the game of baseball, that’s part of it. Didn’t throw it well there in that (8th) inning. It’s a tough loss.”

Eight of South Carolina’s nine batters had a hit, with TJ Hopkins, Tolbert, Cortes and Jacob Olson each finishing with multi-hit games.

Cortes and Cullen each had two RBIs.

The Gamecocks return to action Friday when they host Kentucky in a three-game series. The Wildcats lead the SEC East with four SEC series remaining.

USC

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Hopkins cf

5

2

2

0

0

1

Tolbert 2b

4

1

2

1

1

0

Cortes lf

5

1

2

2

0

0

Cullen c

5

1

1

2

0

0

Bride 3b

3

0

1

0

1

0

Destino dh

4

0

1

0

0

1

Olson rf

4

0

3

0

0

1

Williams 1b

3

0

1

0

0

0

Stokes ss

4

0

0

0

0

1

TOTALS

37

5

13

5

2

4

Florida

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Liput 2b

2

1

0

0

2

1

Guthrie ss

4

0

1

0

0

0

Langworthy cf

3

1

1

0

1

1

Larson lf

3

2

1

1

1

0

Maldonado rf

3

2

2

1

1

0

Schwarz 1b

2

1

1

4

2

0

Hicks 3b

3

0

0

0

1

0

Bell dh

4

0

0

0

0

1

Kolozsvary c

4

0

1

0

0

0

TOTALS

28

7

7

6

8

3

USC

200

010

200

5

Florida

011

001

04x

7

DP — USC 2; Florida 2. LOB — USC 8, Florida 5. 2B — Tolbert; Cortes. HR — Cullen; Maldondado; Schwarz. SH —Williams. CS — Guthrie

USC

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Hill

3 1/3

4

2

2

4

2

Reagan

3 2/3

2

3

3

3

1

Bowers L, 3-1

0

1

2

2

1

0

Parke

1

0

0

0

0

0

Florida

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Kowar

6 1/3

11

5

5

2

4

Horvath

1

1

0

0

0

0

Milchin W, 3-1

2/3

0

0

0

0

0

Byrne S, 8

1

1

0

0

0

0

BK: Kowar 2. Umpires — HP: Scott Cline. 1B: Michael Mazza. 2B: Ryan Morehead. 3B: Seth Bruckmeier. T — 2:47. A 3,604.

Reagan faced 2 batters in the eighth.

Bowers faced 2 batters in the eighth.

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