South Carolina’s penchant for late-inning comebacks is bordering on the absurd.
The Gamecocks used two walk-off home runs to earn a pair of wins against Tennessee on Saturday. In the first game, a continuation of Friday’s series opener that was suspended in the 11th inning by rain, Jordan Gore hit a solo shot in the 14th to lift South Carolina to a 3-2 win. Gore, a freshman who was just 2-for-17 in his career before this weekend, entered as a defensive replacement in the 12th after Brison Celek had pinch-hit for starting second baseman D.C. Arendas in the bottom of the 11th. Jack Wynkoop (3 IP, 3 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief in that one, and Jordan Montgomery (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) turned in a strong start Friday in a no-decision.
Wynkoop (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) returned to the mound to start the nightcap and was chased in Tennessee’s four-run second, but the Gamecocks overcame a 6-3 deficit with six runs in the ninth, capped by Grayson Greiner’s walk-off grand slam. The entire six-run outburst occurred with two outs.
“Obviously, it was a special day for us,” South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook told reporters afterward. “I can’t sit here and tell you I’ve ever seen anything like that. I coach some guys who believe in themselves.”
Top 25 Showdowns
(19) Kentucky at (7) Vanderbilt: Dansby Swanson (4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR) paced Vandy’s 16-hit barrage behind Jared Miller (6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K), as the Commodores evened the series with a 9-3 win. Chandler Shepherd (6 IP, 11 H, 7 ER) took his first loss for Kentucky
Top 25 Upsets
Western Kentucky at (4) Louisiana-Lafayette: The Hilltoppers pounded Austin Robichaux (3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) in a 14-3 win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Anderson Miller (3-for-4, 3 RBI) led the WKU offense in that one. The Cajuns slugged their way to a 10-9 win in the nightcap to even the series, as Ryan Leonards and Seth Harrison combined for five hits, five RBIs and four runs to help Carson Baranik (5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER) improve to 6-0.
(6) Oregon State at Arizona: The Wildcats jumped out to a 6-0 lead through three innings against Andrew Moore (3 IP, 10 H, 6 ER) and cruised to an 11-2 win, snapping their eight-game losing streak. Trent Gilbert (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led Arizona’s 17-hit onslaught in support of Cody Hamlin (8.2 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K).
(8) Louisiana State at Florida: The Gators swept a doubleheader, 2-1 and 6-2. With the score tied 1-1 in the ninth inning of the first game, Justin Shafer hit a walk-off homer to hand Aaron Nola (8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) his first loss of the season. Taylor Gushue hit a three-run homer in the sixth to break open the nightcap, as Logan Shore (8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) picked up the victory, beating Jared Poche (5 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER).
(9) Cal State Fullerton at Wichita State: Cale Elam (9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) retired 16 of the final 17 hitters he faced in a complete-game gem, and Tanner Dearman delivered a walk-off RBI single in the ninth to lift the Shockers to a 3-2 win. Phil Bickford (6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) was solid in a no-decision for the Titans. I was on hand for this battle between two quality sinkerballers; Bickford worked at 89-91 with his lively fastball and flashed a plus slider, though it was inconsistent. Elam’s 87-89 sinker also featured hard bore, and he had success getting the Titans to chase his low-80s slider out of the zone. He also mixed in a quality mid-80s cutter and low-80s changeup. Bickford has a lot more upside, but Elam looked like the better pitcher Saturday thanks to his more advanced secondary stuff. Casey Gillaspie went 3-for-3 with a mammoth home run and two RBIs to lead the Wichita offense.
(12) Texas at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders evened the series with an 8-4 win, as Jonny Drozd (7 IP, 11 H, 2 ER) earned the victory in relief. Texas rapped out 15 hits but stranded 13 baserunners.
(13) Mississippi at Alabama: The Crimson Tide clinched the series with a 6-5 win in 10 innings. Alabama came from behind with two runs in the eighth to force extra innings, and Ole Miss scored a run in the top of the 10th to take the lead, only to see ‘Bama answer with two in the bottom of the frame, capped by Hunter Webb’s pinch-hit, walk-off single.
Arkansas at (16) Mississippi State: The Hogs won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader 4-0, but the Bulldogs bounced back to take the nightcap 5-1, leveling the series. Jalen Beeks (8 IP, 9 H, 0 R) earned the win in the opener, as Preston Brown (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER) took his first loss. The Bulldogs erased a 1-0 deficit with four runs in the sixth in the second game, helping Ross Mitchell (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) improve to 5-1.
Arizona State at (18) UCLA: Jake Peevyhouse (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) doubled three times to lead the Sun Devils to an 8-5 win, leveling the series. Ryan Kellogg (5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER) earned the win, while Grant Watson (5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER) took the loss.
(23) Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh: The Panthers clinched the series with a 5-0 win behind Joseph Harvey (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R). Casey Roche (3-for-4, R, RBI, 2 2B) led the Pitt offense.
(24) North Carolina at Duke: The Tar Heels failed to hold an early 6-1 lead, as the Blue Devils clinched the series with a 9-8 win in 12 innings. Ryan Deitrich (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led Duke’s 14-hit attack and delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 12th.
Miami at (25) North Carolina State: Miami clinched a huge road series with a pair of 2-1 wins in a Saturday doubleheader. Andrew Suarez (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) beat Andrew Woeck (5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) in the opener. Starters Chris Diaz (5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and Carlos Rodon (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) took no-decisions in the nightcap, as Miami broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth on Zack Collins’ sacrifice fly.Preseason No. 5 N.C. State is now 3-8 in the ACC, with a series at Clemson looming next week.
Other Top 25 Results
(1) Florida State at Boston College: Jose Brizuela and john Sansone had three RBIs apiece, and Bryant Holtmann (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) turned in the longest outing of his career in place of Brandon Leibrandt (scratched with flu-like symptoms), as the Seminoles completed the sweep with a 10-1 win.
Virginia Tech at (3) Virginia: Joe McCarthy (3-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B, HR) led the UVa. offense, and Connor Jones (4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R) earned the win with strong relief, as the Cavs clinched the series with a 9-2 victory.
UC Davis at (5) Cal Poly: The Mustangs clinched the series with a a 5-3 win. Taylor Chris (5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K) earned the win with brilliant relief of Justin Calomeni (4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER).
(10) Rice at Middle Tennessee State: Ford Stainback, Skyler Ewing, Shane Hoelscher and Michael Aquino had three hits apiece in support of Blake Fox (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K), as the Owls leveled the series with an 8-0 win.
Xavier/Butler at (14) Louisville: Shane Crain (3-for-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 2B) led the Louisville offense behind Jared Ruxer (6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER) in a 15-1 blowout win.
Hawaii at (15) UC Santa Barbara: Joey Epperson (4-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B, SB) led the UCSB offense behind Austin Pettibone (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) in an 8-7 win, leveling the series. Epperson, who ranked second in the nation in batting heading into the weekend, is back up to an even .500 average (44-for-88), with 10 steals in 10 tries.
Memphis at (19) Houston: The Cougars broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the seventh and went on to a 6-3 win, evening the series. Tyler Ford (3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) earned the win with stellar relief of Jake Lemoine (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K).
(20) Clemson at Maryland: Play was suspended by rain with no score in the second inning.
Missouri at (21) Auburn: Six Auburn starters recorded multiple hits as part of a 16-hit attack in support of Michael O’Neal (5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER), as Auburn avoided a series sweep with a 7-3 win.