The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: No. 11 South Carolina baseball leaves Baton Rouge with fourth SEC series win

<p>&nbsp;Freshman pitcher Will Sanders pitches against an LSU batter on Saturday, April 17, 2021.&nbsp;</p>

 Freshman pitcher Will Sanders pitches against an LSU batter on Saturday, April 17, 2021. 

The No. 11 South Carolina baseball team took its fourth SEC series in a row after defeating LSU 2-1 on the road. This is South Carolina's first series win over the Tigers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, since 2013. The team now holds a 24-10 overall record and a 10-5 record in SEC play.

Game one

South Carolina dropped the series opener to LSU on Thursday, losing 5-1.

Though it had opportunities, the offense never found a way to get a run across against junior right-handed Tiger pitcher Landon Marceaux. 

In seven innings, Marceaux was in complete control, allowing three hits and striking out a season-high 12 batters. 

"Their guy was just really good, and we've got to do a better job," head coach Mark Kingston said. "He had good fastball, really good breaking ball, and we chased it too much, and that's why the strikeouts were so high."

On the night, LSU stranded seven base runners and struck out USC 16 times.

South Carolina's best scoring chance came in the seventh as, junior first baseman David Mendham led off with a triple but was thrown out at home.

After allowing a two-run home run in the first inning, redshirt junior right-hander Thomas Farr found his rhythm, as he only allowed one more hit and finished with three strikeouts in five innings.

"Farr battled. He gave us a chance to win," Kingston said. "Got off to a real tough start there at the beginning, but then settled in and got us through five and giving up two runs."

The Gamecocks loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, scoring their only run of the game on a double play. 

Game two

Heavy rains in Baton Rouge Friday night moved the second game of the series to Saturday morning for two seven-inning games that day.

After a slow start, the Gamecocks rallied with four runs in the seventh inning to tie the series, winning the game 4-2.

Senior righthander Brannon Jordan had another productive start for South Carolina, pitching two shutout innings after giving up runs in the first and second. He walked five batters and struck out six, holding LSU to two runs on three hits in four innings of work.

Redshirt junior righthander Andrew Peters picked up his third win of the season after coming in for Jordan in the fifth, pitching two shutout innings and striking out two batters.

Offensively, the Gamecocks couldn't gain any momentum with only three hits through the first six innings and no runs while stranding five batters on base.

The bats woke up in the seventh, as Mendham and sophomore catcher Colin Burgess led with singles to put runners on first and second with the Gamecocks down by two runs.

Although he has been struggling at the plate recently, sophomore second baseman Braylen Wimmer got his spark back during this game, going two-for-three and hitting the game-tying double to bring Mendham and Burgess home.

"I got a good pitch to hit, and, you know, put a good swing on it," Wimmer said. "It sparked a fire, so from there on, we started swinging well, and I'm happy it happened."

Fifth-year shortstop George Callil walked to first base after being hit by a pitch and another double from junior centerfielder Brady Allen scored both Wimmer and Callil to take the lead for the Gamecocks.

"Just an unbelievable effort by our guys; looked very bleak there in game one, and you’re on the verge of already losing the series that early into today," Kingston said postgame. "But we found a way."

Game three

South Carolina carried the momentum into game three of the series to take down LSU 9-0 with an all-around dominating performance.

The Gamecocks got started early after a two-run homer from Mendham in the first, his fourth of the season. 

The Tigers couldn't respond, as freshman right-handed pitcher Will Sanders pitched six shutout innings, only allowing five hits with one walk and striking out four, giving him his sixth win in seven starts.

"Everybody we put on the mound today was really good, and again, it always starts with pitching," Kingston said. "We have power pitching that can really do some great things when they're throwing strikes and not helping the opponent."

Carolina brought the heat at the plate, with Callil hitting his first triple to score Burgess in the second. Sophomore third baseman Brennan Milone went on to double, scoring Callil, and a RBI single from junior slugger Wes Clarke scored him.

A run scored by senior right-fielder Andrew Eyster on a passed ball gave the Gamecocks a six-run lead by the end of the third. Eyster went three-for-four in the game with a double and two singles.

Wimmer hit his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning. RBI singles from Eyster and Burgess extended the lead to nine runs, as the Gamecocks out-hit LSU 14-5.

Redshirt sophomore lefthander Julian Bosnic relieved Sanders in the seventh to strike out a quick three batters on 12 pitches, cinching the series win for South Carolina on the road.

What's next

The Gamecocks come back to Columbia to start a three-game series at Founders Park against the No.1 Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. The first game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.