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No. 4 Tennessee loses to No 21. South Carolina, 3-2

A late-season defeat rears its ugly head.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Saul Young/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Tennessee Volunteers (41-14, 19-10) came into Friday night’s matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks (33-19, 16-13) looking to put a stranglehold on the series.

Instead they found nothing but defeat. Let’s recap the game’s biggest moments.

First Inning

Top of the first, South Carolina on the mound

Brett Kerry came out on fire. He threw eight strikes in his first 11 pitches and the Vols went three-up, three-down as first baseman David Mendham made a great play to close out a pop fly.

Bottom of the first, Tennessee on the mound

Will Heflin received the start. He walked his first batter in Brady Allen, but struck out Andrew Eyster right after. Allen was picked off at first and then Wes Clarke struck out swinging to close out a strong opening inning for Heflin.

Score: 0-0

Second Inning

Top of the second, South Carolina on the mound

Kerry was solid again. Evan Russell managed a single, but Luc Lipcius registered as Kerry’s third strikeout of the game. Jordan Beck flied out to center to close out the inning.

Bottom of the second, Tennessee on the mound

Josiah Sightler singled to right field, and advanced to second base thanks to a sac fly from Wimmer. Heflin killed the momentum with his third strikeout of the game on Mendham. He then was responsible for a pop fly on Colin Burgess, which ended the innning.

Score: 0-0

Third inning

Top of the third, South Carolina on the mound

Pete Derkay got things going for the Vols with a lead-off double. Connor Pavolony drove him home with a single to right field to give the Vols a 1-0 lead on the next at-bat.

Kerry held the Vols at bay, however, thanks to a Sportscenter Top-10 worthy play by third baseman Jeff Heinrich. It was a solid recovery by Kerry and co. after a bad start to the inning.

Bottom of the third, Tennessee on the mound

Heinrich fouled out and Heflin stuck out the next two batters for a three-up, three-down situation for the Vols.

Score: Vols 1, Gamecocks 0

Fourth inning

Top of the fourth, South Carolina on the mound

Lipcius drilled a two-out, solo-HR to give the Vols a 2-0 lead. Kerry was able to maintain, however, as he subsequently struck out Beck to end the inning.

Bottom of the fourth, Tennessee on the mound

Tennessee led, 2-0, but things immediately became dire as Heflin faced runners on first and second with zero outs. Heflin was able to strike out Sighter, which led to two straight outs to close out the inning. Like Kerry, Heflin made the most of a bad situation.

Score: Vols 2, Gamecocks 0

Fifth Inning

Top of the fifth, South Carolina on the mound

Kerry continued his solid game. Derkay found himself heading to the dugout after a pop fly and both Pavolony and Liam Spence grounded out to end the inning.

Bottom of the fifth, Tennessee on the mound

Heflin quickly found himself out of the game as singles from Burgess and Heinrich put Gamecock runners on first and second. Those then led to a Michael Robinson sac bunt that advanced said runners to second and third.

Camden Sewell then came in the game to replace Heflin.

The change didn’t work. Allen drilled a three-run home run to left field to give the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Sewell was able to close out the inning thanks to an Eyster ground out and Clarke strikeout, but the Vols faced their first deficit of the game.

Score: Gamecocks 3, Vols 2

Sixth Inning

Top of the sixth, South Carolina on the mound

Kerry was able to preserve his team’s lead with two strikeouts in the top of the sixth inning.

Bottom of the sixth, Tennessee on the mound

Sewell was just as impressive as Kerry, if not more impressive. He retired his fifth straight batter, with three of those being strikeouts, to keep it a one-score game in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Score: Gamecocks 3, Vols 2

Seventh Inning

Top of the seventh, South Carolina on the mound

Another Derkay double landed Beck on third with one out. Ethan Payne came in to run for Derkay. But it didn’t matter. An intense crowd helped the Cocks get out of a tough jam and they led, 3-2, heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Bottom of the seventh, Tennessee on the mound

Sewell retired three more batters in a row to make it eight straight. All he needed at this point was some run support and the Vols would be in good shape.

Score: Gamecocks 3, Vols 2

Eighth Inning

Top of the eighth, South Carolina on the mound

Julian Bosnic comes in for Kerry, who finished with two allowed runs and eight strikeouts on 106 total pitches. He is a key player during the second out and he forces a ground-out for the third out of the half-inning. It’s an impressive performance for the redshirt sophomore.

Bottom of the eighth, Tennessee on the mound

Sewell gets his ninth straight batter, but that streak ends as Eyster is hit by a pitch. He’s able to strike out Clarke before Vitello decides to make another pitching change.

Senior-lefty Redman Walsh came in with two outs and a man on first with a 2-0 count. There was a slight moment of panic after Sightler singled up the middle to send Eyster to third, but Braylen Wimmer flied out to center to end the inning.

Score: Gamecocks 3, Vols 2

Ninth Inning

Top of the ninth, South Carolina on the mound

The Vols didn’t have much room to spare. Beck gave the team some slight when he singled down the left side, but the rest of the bats couldn’t hold up and the Vols would go on to lose, 3-2.

Final score: Gamecocks 3, Vols 2