An uncharacteristically rough outing for its pitcher and lackluster hitting with runners in scoring position sunk South Carolina in its series opener against Florida on Thursday.
A career-best outing from its pitcher and a much-needed power surge helped USC even the series Friday, as the Gamecocks slugged their way past UF, 6-3.
All told, Carolina (21-14, 4-10 SEC) connected for four home runs on the evening, its most in conference play this year. Sophomore catcher Luke Berryhill had a two-run blast in the third, preceded by a solo shot from junior shortstop George Callil and followed by two more solo blasts from junior third baseman Quinntin Perez and senior first baseman Chris Cullen in the fourth.
Those homers backed up a quality start from redshirt freshman pitcher Cam Tringali, who went a career-high six innings while striking out three, walking none and giving up four hits.
Tringali’s only earned run allowed came after he exited in the seventh inning after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh. Florida then loaded the bases with two outs off a single and walk against freshman reliever Wesley Sweatt, and Sweatt was then pulled for freshman reliever Brett Kerry, who gave up a run on an infield single.
South Carolina’s only run that did not come off a long ball was in the second, as senior right fielder Jacob Olson smacked a double that ricocheted off the third baseman’s glove and into foul territory, then made it to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single from Cullen.
Kerry ran into trouble in the eight, giving up a single and walk to start the inning before battling back to record two outs. Florida, however, responded with a single and double to push two runs across. Kerry also faced trouble in the ninth with runners on second and third and two outs, but he rallied with a strikeout to close out the win.
Play of the game: In the sixth inning, the Gamecock defense robbed Florida of a run when DH Nelson Maldanado launched a deep fly ball and looked to have an inside-the-park home run as the ball caromed into center field. Left fielder Brady Allen raced to the ball, however, and found second baseman Noah Campbell, who relayed the ball on a perfect throw to the catcher Berryhill, who just caught Maldanado for the out at home.
Next: Carolina and Florida finish their series Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be streamed online on SEC Network Plus via WatchESPN.