The first at bat of the game set the tone on Saturday when Noah Campbell led South Carolina off with an inside the park home run. It was a 1-0 lead after just five pitches from Jackson Kowar and the Gamecocks would never relinquish the lead on the way to a 15-7 win.
The 15 earned runs are the most the Gators have given up this season. It took Florida seven games to allow 15 runs.
The Gamecocks weren’t done tagging Kowar either. T.J. Hopkins followed Campbell with a single and Madison Stokes hit a no-doubt home run to right field to extend the lead to 3-0 before an out was recorded. South Carolina added a run on a balk in the third inning to make things 4-0.
On the other side of the field Gamecock starter Cody Morris was fantastic. The sophomore pounded the zone with a fastball that reached 95 and mixed in a slider and changeup with regularity to keep the Gator bats at bay. Other than a hit batter in the first and a walk in the second, Morris retired nine before surrendering a hit to JJ Schwarz in the top of the fourth.
The Gators would capitalize on that first hit when Schwarz moved up to second on a balk and scored on a Deacon Liput single up the middle. Wil Dalton’s solo home run in the sixth cut the lead to 4-2 but South Carolina would open the floodgates in their half of the inning.
A leadoff single chased Kowar. The sophomore gave up a season-high five earned runs Saturday before Andrew Baker replaced him on the mound. Baker lasted two batters, a sacrifice bunt and single before Tommy Mace took over. The freshman hit a batter before giving up three hits and watching five runs cross the plate.
Florida didn’t roll over despite the 9-2 disadvantage. The Gators scored three runs in the seventh thanks to a Nick Horvath leadoff home run and Dalton’s second home run —a two-run shot — of the game to make it a 9-5 game. South Carolina closed the door, however, in the eighth with six runs, including two home runs in the eighth inning. Jonathan India hit his team-high eighth home run in the ninth inning but it was too little too late.
The Gators will send Tyler Dyson to the mound tomorrow for a 1 p.m. first pitch. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.