Gamecocks Baseball Field Report: Kentucky Sweep Edition

South Carolina hosted Kentucky for the third SEC series of the weekend and swept the Wildcats 3-1, 4-3(10) and 4-1.

Breaking it Down…South Carolina sent ace Michael Roth to the mound to face Kentucky’s stud pitcher Alex Meyer.  The Gamecock bats got to the 6’9″ Meyer first.  In the bottom of the first Peter Mooney walked and Scott Wingo was hit by a pitch when he squared to bunt.  Jackie Bradley Jr promptly singled Mooney home, and Christian Walker scored Wingo on a groundout to the right side.  Trailing 2-0, Kentucky got on the board in the third.  After a leadoff walk, Kentucky sacrificed and singled a run in to get on the board.  After that, Michael Roth kept the Wildcats off the board.  The Gamecocks got to Meyer again in the fifth when Mooney homered on the first pitch of the inning.  The 3-1 lead would be enough to see the Gamecocks through.  Roth pitched through the eighth giving up the one run on three hits while striking out 6.  Matt Price came on in the ninth, allowed one hit and saved the game.

On Saturday Colby Holmes got a rare weekend start.  He gave up hits in both the first and second innings, but no runs.  In the bottom of the second inning the Gamecocks got on the board.  Adrian Morales led off with a double and was later driven in by Brady Thomas.  Robert Beary was driven in by Evan Marzilli to give USC a 2-0 lead.  The Gamecocks quickly gave those runs back in the top of the third.  A double and two singles later, Kentucky tied the game at two.  Holmes kept the Wildcats from scoring any more and then left the game in the sixth after allowing a lead off single.  Bryan Harper came in and got a double play and a fly out to end the inning.  While Carolina continued to struggle to score, Kentucky took the lead in the seventh.  A lead off walk was exacerbated on a throwing error, and Kentucky took the lead.  Brady Thomas doubled to lead off the seventh, but was stranded there for the rest of the inning.  In the eighth, USC finally scored again.  Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch; Christian Walker doubled, and Jake Williams singled to centerfield to tie the game.  Carolina could get no more runs, and the game went to extra innings.  Matt Price sat the Wildcats down in order in the ninth and tenth, and Adrian Morales sparked the team in the tenth.  His double with one out would become the winning run.  After an intentional walk to Williams, Morales stole third.  Brady Thomas then smoked a ball at the second baseman.  The Wildcats couldn’t come up with it and the ball got into right field as Morales touched home for the win.

On Sunday USC came out swinging for the sweep.  Peter Mooney singled to start the game off, and Scott Wingo’s sacrifice bunt attempt ended up as a single.  Jackie Bradley, Jr. was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Christian Walker’s single gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.  Adrian Morales hit into a double play that scored a run to give USc the lead 2-0.  After that first, the game settled into a pitcher’s duel.  Forrest Koumas, who spent part of the week in the hospital due to a peanut allergy, pitched very well.  He didn’t give up a run and pitched into the seventh.  In the bottom of the seventh Peter Mooney scored for the second time of the day on Christian Walker’s fielder’s choice RBI.  Kentucky got on the board in the eighth when they scored a rare run against John Taylor.  Evan Marzilli answered by driving in Jake Williams to make the score 4-1.  In the bottom of the ninth John Taylor and Bryan Harper closed the door on Kentucky.  The last innings weren’t bereft of drama, though.  Kentucky stranded three runners in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Stars of the Series…Michael Roth…W, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 K, 1 BB…Matt Price…W, S, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K…Forrest Koumas…W, 6.1 IP, 2, 0 R, 3 K…Peter Mooney…4-9, HR, 4 R, RBI…Christian Walker…4-13 3 RBI, 2B…Brady Thomas…3-7, 2B, 2 RBI, GW hit…

What to take from the Weekend…You have to be happy with a sweep.  South Carolina seems to be a more talented and deeper team than Kentucky, and they showed it.  The Gamecocks also showed the ability to put last weekend’t emotional Florida series win behind them.

As far as questions answered, I think it’s safe to say Forrest Koumas has earned himself another weekend start and may be the third starter Coach Tanner has been looking for.

There still seems to be some question marks about the offense.  11 runs over the weekend isn’t very many, and USC left plenty of men on base.  USC is lucky that the low offensive output happened on a weekend when the pitchers did so well.

This and that…South Carolina is now 22-5, 7-2…SC left 27 men on base; Kentucky 25, but 9 of those were in the last three innings on Sunday…South Carolina led each of the three games 2-0 at one point…

Up next…The Gamecocks have a strange week coming up.  They host USC Upstate on Tuesday before traveling to Tennessee this weekend.  The strange part is that the Tennessee series is going to be played Thursday through Saturday.  The Thursday game will be televised at 7:30 pm ESPNU; the Saturday game will be televised at noon on SportSouth.  Friday’s game will be at 6.