Walk-off hit lifts Gamecocks over Florida in extra innings
COLUMBIA, SC --- After a marathon fourteen inning game between No. 25 South Carolina and No. 5 Florida, it was ultimately the Gamecocks who took home the 9-8 victory on a walk-off RBI double from catcher Collin Burgess.
In a reversal of the Gamecocks’ previous series openers, this one was not a pitchers’ duel as neither starter lasted five innings.
South Carolina pitcher Thomas Farr exhausted 111 pitches in just four and a third innings, allowing five runs on four hits and six walks. On the other side, Florida starting pitcher Tommy Mace also had his shortest outing of the season, lasting just four innings and allowing four Gamecock runs to cross the plate.
Each team wound up using five pitchers and combined for nearly five hundred pitches thrown with both bullpens keeping the game tied at 7-7 from the ninth inning through the thirteenth. That was until the top of the fourteenth when Florida’s Nathan Hickey clobbered a go-ahead homerun to straightaway centerfield to give the Gators a one-run lead.
Now trailing by one run, and down to their last out in the bottom of the fourteenth, the Gamecocks leaned on a veteran who is no stranger to late game heroics.
Right fielder Andrew Eyster hit a solo shot into the South Carolina bullpen in right field, tying the marathon game at 8. Eyster had previously hit two walk-off hits, both against Clemson, earlier this season.
Now tied, South Carolina was still down to their final out, until one batter later, as Burgess hit an RBI double to score Jeff Henrich who had hit a single in the at-bat before to beat the No. 5 team in the country.
Julian Bosnic, previously the Sunday starter for South Carolina, allowed just the single home run in the fourteenth inning to go with five strikeouts while pitching the last two innings of the game and earning the win. He followed Jack Mahoney, Daniel Lloyd, and Andrew Peters who worked a combined seven and two-thirds innings in relief.
Despite out hitting the Gators 20-9, the Gamecocks let the game drag into extras by stranding 11 runners and allowing 13 Florida batters to reach on walks. The result was a game stretching into the early morning hours and leaving both teams exhausted heading into the final two games of the series.
The Gamecocks (14-6, 2-2 SEC) and Gators (16-6, 3-1 SEC) face off again tomorrow at 4 p.m. with Brannon Jordan and Jack Leftwich, respectively, slated to take the mound.