South Carolina baseball: Gamecocks sweep fifth ranked Gators

South Carolina baseball. Mandatory Credit, Syndication: The Greenville News.
South Carolina baseball. Mandatory Credit, Syndication: The Greenville News. /

South Carolina baseball swept SEC rival Florida over the weekend.

The South Carolina baseball team got back on track this weekend with a three-game sweep of No. 5 Florida in Columbia. Mark Kingston’s group had been spiraling after dropping two straight road series, and losing six games in their previous eight tries, which had followers questioning how good the team really was.

The Gamecocks quieted those doubters for now, and currently find themselves sitting at 4-2 in conference play. The impressive performance was led by an offensive outburst from the Carolina lineup as they scored 21 runs over the three-game set.

The bats had gone cold in back-to-back series versus Vanderbilt and Texas, totaling just 14 runs in those six games. It is worth noting that the Gamecocks faced three potential top 10 picks on the mound in those six outings, but it was definitely encouraging to see the bats come alive against an elite SEC opponent, in a series that could have a huge impact on the remainder of the season.

In Friday’s opener, South Carolina notched nine runs on 20 hits, picking up a huge win in dramatic fashion, as the Gamecocks overcame a one-run deficit in the bottom of the 14th inning to escape with a 9-8 victory. After falling behind in the top of the frame, Andrew Eyster tied things up with a two-out solo shot to right center field. Jeff Heinrich followed with a single up the middle, and was knocked in by a Colin Burgess double one batter later.

The momentum of the walk-off win was carried over into Saturday’s meeting. The Gamecocks used a three-run homer by the nation’s leader in long balls, Wes Clarke, to win take the series with a 4-1 win. Starter Brannon Jordan pitched seven innings, striking out nine Gators and allowing no earned runs to get the win.

Sunday’s finale was another offensive explosion, with the Gamecocks launching five home runs in an 8-5 victory. Freshman Will Sanders earned the start, and struck out six batters in four innings of work to get his fourth win on the season. The series was the most complete team performance of the year. South Carolina hitters recorded 34 hits, while Gamecock pitchers stuck out 45 Florida batters to add to their NCAA leading 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings.


Wes Clarke

Clarke homered twice over the weekend to push his nation leading total to 13 on the year. He’s now batting .316 on the year and has knocked in 27 runs. His three-run homer in Saturday’s matchup was the difference in the game.

Andrew Eyster

Eyster went 6-for-12 on the weekend, boosting his batting average to .282 on the year. The outfielder launched two long balls in the series, including one that tied Friday night’s game with two outs in the 14th inning.

Colin Burgess

Burgess, typically known for his defensive prowess, had a huge impact at the plate versus Florida. The catcher tallied at least one hit in every game, finishing the series with six hits in 15 at-bats. Burgess knocked in the game-winning hit in Friday’s extra-inning thriller, and earned SEC newcomer of the week for his stellar performance.


The Gamecocks will look to keep the momentum rolling this week as they face Gardner-Webb in a Tuesday night matchup, followed by a weekend series at Georgia.