South Carolina started the season 16-0 and rose to No. 1 in the country, but the Gamecocks have gone just 12-9 since amid a rash of injuries. The news didn't get any better in a 10-8 loss at The Citadel on Wednesday, as the Gamecocks might be losing second baseman Max Schrock for the year.
The Bulldogs, just 15-23 on the season and No. 168 in boydsworld.com's RPI, took advantage of a sloppy night from the Gamecocks on multiple fronts, as South Carolina's pitching handed out seven walks and its defense committed three errors. One of the most costly miscues came in The Citadel's four-run third, when Tanner English lost a fly ball in the lights and allowed two runs to score as the Bulldogs took a lead they would never relinquish. Kyle Martin and Brison Celek had multi-hit games for South Carolina, which cut its deficit to one in the middle innings but stranded 11 men on base.
The game drew a Citadel-record 6,500 fans to Riley Park in Charleston, S.C., and was the Bulldogs' first win against the Gamecocks since 2011. The Gamecocks lost to an in-state mid-major for the second straight night after dropping a game to Charleston Southern at home on Tuesday, and it was their fourth straight loss overall. It's their longest losing streak since 2009.
The Gamecocks played the game without injured regulars Joey Pankake, Marcus Mooney and Connor Bright, but the more concerning news is the loss of Max Schrock. Schrock, who missed last weekend's series against Florida due to an illness, returned to the lineup Wednesday but left again with an apparent back injury after just two at-bats, both of which were strikeouts.
The outlook for Schrock's return looks grim.
"Max is iffy at best," South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook told The (Columbia, S.C.) State. "I didn't take Max out because he struck out. I took him out because he's hurt. It's his back. He can't move. Max might not be with us the rest of the year."
Other Top 25 Results
William & Mary at (1) Virginia: Matt Thaiss (3-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) led Virginia's 14-hit parade as the Cavs drubbed W&M 11-2. Virginia scored in seven of its eight innings at the plate and has won 14 of its last 16 games.
(8) Alabama at Alabama-Birmingham: The Crimson Tide got revenge for last week's loss to UAB with a 5-2 win in Birmingham. The Tide outhit the Blazers 13-4, led by Georgie Salem and Daniel Cucjen, who had three hits each. Geoffrey Bramblett (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) improved to 3-0 on the mound.
Florida Atlantic at (15) Miami: Miami extended the country's longest winning streak to 13 games with a 2-1 win behind Javi Salas (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) and three relievers. FAU held the Canes to just four hits, but Johnny Ruiz's two-run double in the second inning proved to be enough. The Canes haven't lost since dropping the rubber game of their series with Virginia on March 24.
Western Kentucky at (21) Indiana: Western Kentucky's Ryan Thurston (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K) turned in the best pitching performance of the night, but the WKU offense couldn't scratch anything across against four Indiana pitchers as IU won 1-0 in 10 innings. Tim O'Conner's walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 10th brought home the only run of the game.