COLUMBIA, S.C. – Hot bats turned cold in Mark Kingston’s first game as South Carolina baseball coach, a 7-6 loss to VMI at Founders Park on Friday night.
The Gamecocks came roaring out of the gates, going 5-for-5 with runners on base before closing on a 1-for-17 skid, which saw them strand runners in the final seven innings.
Jonah Bride, who went 2-for-5, was the primary offender, leaving 6 men on base. Bride’s first opportunity came with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, which saw Madison Stokes drive in Carlos Cortes for the second time of the night with an RBI double.
Adam Hill, South Carolina’s starting pitcher, had a rough top half of the inning.
The junior righty appeared to be out of the frame when umpires ruled that Jake Huggins hit into a 2-6-3 double-play, but the call was reversed after the 4-man crew concluded that Huggins was hit by the pitch.
Two batters later, Nathan Eaton smashed a 3-run home run into the leftfield bleachers. Matt Pita followed his lead, giving VMI a 7-5 lead on their back-to-back bombs.
South Carolina squandered a chance to chip into the lead in the seventh when Noah Campbell popped out with the bases loaded.
The Gamecocks tacked on run No. 6 in eighth inning when VMI catcher Peyton Maddox tried to pick Stokes off from first. The throw, which sailed into right, allowed T.J. Hopkins to score with Olson standing at the plate.
But the 2-out, bases loaded rally ended when Riley Hogan struck out swinging.
As a team, South Carolina went 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position, with most of the damage coming in the first inning. Carlos Cortes doubled for the team’s first hit of the season, before coming around to score the first run on a double by Stokes, who later scored on a 2-run homer by Jacob Olson.
Hill (0-1) allowed runs in each of the first two innings. He gave up a total of 7 on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks over 4 innings of work.
John Gilreath came on in relief and scattered 3 hits over 4 scoreless innings. The freshman from Rock Hill, S.C. finished with 4 strikeouts.
South Carolina and VMI return to action on Saturday at noon. The two teams play again on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The post South Carolina baseball: VMI spoils opening day at Founders Park appeared first on SEC Country.
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