Despite 13 strikeouts as a team, South Carolina baseball defeated the Liberty Flames 3-2 in the final game of the three-game series. The Gamecocks and Flames split the first two games of the series, setting up a rubber match on Sunday at Founders Park.
Right-handed junior Reid Morgan was given the start for South Carolina while right-handed sophomore Noah Skirrow was the starting pitcher for Liberty.
Morgan gave up an early run in the first, but settled in quickly. A throwing error by third baseman Jacob Olson gave Liberty its second run of the first inning. Morgan then settled in and threw five shutout innings.
Skirrow had the Gamecock batters reeling early. He struck out six batters in his first three innings, and finished out the game with nine K's. He pitched through six innings and gave up two earned runs.
“Some of our defensive areas need to get shored up,” said Gamecocks head coach Mark Kingston. "We struck out too many times for my liking."
The Gamecocks scratched across two runs in the middle innings, one of which came from a monster solo shot by senior outfielder TJ Hopkins.
The score was still tied 2-2 in the ninth inning, thanks to stellar relief pitching by both teams. Freshman right-handed pitcher Brett Kerry came into the game and gave the Gamecocks two shutout innings.
His play did not go unnoticed by the starter, Reid Morgan, who gave praise to Kerry for his performance in Sunday's win.
"Something else that really stuck out to me is the way the freshmen came in," Morgan said. "Brett coming in two days straight and just was lights out. That's amazing to see and really good as a starter to feel."
Kerry pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, giving the Gamecocks a chance to end it in regulation or go into extra innings.
Catcher Luke Berryhill led off the ninth and was able to work a walk and get on base. Jacob Olson then singled to the outfield, and because of a jump, Berryhill was able to make it to third on the play.
Liberty pitcher Garret Price began the bottom of the ninth at bat with a wild pitch that went all the way to the backstop. Berryhill scored off the mistake, allowing South Carolina to take the win with walk-off wild pitch.
Kingston said after the game that Berryhill's play was the play of the game.
The Gamecocks finish out the opening weekend series with a 2-1 record. South Carolina is set to take on the Winthrop Eagles on Tuesday at Founders Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.