Gamecocks one-hit, drop series to Missouri
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASEBALL
COLUMBIA, MO.—South Carolina's offensive struggles came to an ugly head Saturday night.
In an already rough year offensively in SEC play, the Gamecocks were one-hit in game two against Missouri while the bullpen faltered late in an 11-0 loss.
“It’s no secret we didn’t play up to our potential today or up to our potential right now. But that’s not going to define this team," Cam Tringali said. "We have three more weeks left of this. We’re not going to roll over and quit. We’re going to come out, fight and try and get a win. Next weekend we’re going to come out and do the same thing.”
The Gamecocks avoided being no-hit for the first time since 1990 with Luke Berryhill driving a one-out single to right in the ninth inning for the team's first and only hit of the day.
Saturday was the team's biggest loss of the season and worst since losing 14-1 to Kentucky last season. It's the third time they've been shutout this season.
They'd put four runners on against TJ Sikkema, all coming on walks but couldn't muster much else. They'd put just one runner on the final four innings and stranding all four runners.
Over the first 18 innings of the series they've stranded 13 runners and hit 3-for-19 with runners on base. The Gamecocks (24-19, 5-15 SEC) struck out 15 times, tying a season high, and have been rung up 24 times in 54 outs.
“Guys need to take quality at-bats when they get their chance. We’ve done it this year at times but we need to do it on weekends against SEC pitching," Mark Kingston said. "That’s been the difference. We’ve done it outside the conference we have not been able to do it on a consistent basis inside the conference.”
South Carolina's poor offensive output wasted a dominant start from Cam Tringali, who sliced his way through Missouri's lineup except for one pitch.
He made one mistake in a career-high 6.1 innings, giving up a RBI double to Peter Zimmerman but was near perfect outside of the seventh inning.
The freshman right scattered five hits and three walks over his outing, striking out a career-high six batters.
“I thought Cam battled his butt off," Kingston said. "Six-plus innings, gave up one run. He did everything he could to help us win tonight.”
He'd hit trouble in the seventh, putting two on with one out after a hit batter and walk before the bullpen gave up both inherited runners on back-to-back singles before getting pulled.
Gage Hinson came in for him and immediately gave up a run before Cole Ganopulos did the same thing.
That started a nightmare seventh inning where four Gamecock relievers gave up eight runs on five hits and an error while walking two, including walking in a run with two outs.
The Gamecocks' bullpen ultimately gave up eight runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings with Kingston saving the team's best bullpen bullet in Brett Kerry for Sunday.
“That early in the game, we were losing at that point and I didn’t want to put the closer in with three innings to go and we’re losing," Kingston said. "In a tie game it may have been a different story. We were losing at the time and I didn’t want to burn Kerry for three innings.”
The Gamecocks have now lost all eight conference series this season and are 10 games below .500 in league play with 10 SEC games left to play.
It's the first time since joining the league the Gamecocks haven't won a series through seven SEC weekends.
“I mean obviously it’s frustrating to continue to lose. Everybody still goes out there competing and trying to win," Tringali said. "When things just don’t go your way on a consistent basis for a stretch like this it’s really, frustrating. But we’re going to stick together. That’s all we can do at this point. We’re going to stick together, keep fighting and that’s what this team’s going to do.”
Up next: South Carolina tries to avoid the sweep in game three Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on the SEC Network Plus. No starter has been announced.