A pair of Gamecock errors in the bottom of the eighth inning led to two unearned runs that helped lift Georgia to a 3-1 win over seventh ranked South Carolina on Friday night in the series opener at Foley Field. South Carolina falls to 34-12 and 12-10 in the SEC with Georgia now 22-22-1 and 8-13-1 in the league. The series continues on Saturday with first pitch at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on CSS and streamed live on ESPN3. It can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
Trailing by a run, the Gamecocks tied it at 1-1 in the eighth inning on Grayson Greiner’s solo home run to left-center, his team-leading sixth homer of the year. The Bulldogs would answer though in the bottom half. After a leadoff single by Skyler Weber, Georgia caught a break on a sac bunt by Mike Bell. On the play, Bell reached first as a muffed throw from Jordan Montgomery went off the glove of Gamecock second baseman Jordan Gore to put runners on the corners with no outs. South Carolina would turn to closer Joel Seddon, who promptly got the first out of the inning as a slow chopper down the third base line off the bat of Stephen Wrenn was fielded cleanly by Seddon, who threw home to nab Weber. With runners on first and second base, Georgia caught its second break on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Conor Welton. As the Gamecocks tried to turn two to end the inning, Gamecock shortstop Marcus Mooney threw high over to first and past Martin scoring Bell from second base. With two outs, Hunter Cole poked a RBI single into right field to score Welton and give the Bulldogs a two-run lead. After a one-out walk to Mooney in the ninth, Georgia ended the Gamecocks’ final threat with a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of pinch hitter Brison Celek to end the game.
Georgia starting pitcher Ryan Lawlor pitched a complete game to earn the win and is now 4-4 on the year. He allowed one run on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Montgomery suffered the loss and is now 6-4 for the year. He allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits in seven-plus innings with no walks and a pair of strikeouts.
“(We made) too many mistakes to win a game on the road in this league,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “It was a disappointing performance by us. Give (Lawlor) credit, he stuffed us pretty good. When a guy is pitching like that, you have to do some things. We couldn’t get on via the bunt, he wouldn’t walk anybody and the few balls we did square up, they were caught, outside of Grayson’s ball. We didn’t do enough to earn a win.”
Both Lawlor and Montgomery limited both teams throughout most the one hour and 57 minute contest. Georgia would break through in the fourth inning as Welton led off with a single and scored on Nelson Ward’s one-out RBI double to right-center. It remained that way until Greiner’s homer in the eighth.
Greiner went 2-for-3 to lead Carolina at the plate. Welton and Weber both had two hits to lead Georgia.