Florida loses three games at South Carolina

Special to Gatorsports.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 25 South Carolina accomplished something Sunday that doesn't happen often to the Florida baseball program. Thanks to an 8-5 win, the Gamecocks swept the series from the Gators for the first time since 2006.

The Gators have rarely been swept under the direction of coach Kevin O'Sullivan. The last time was to Georgia in early 2019 and only seven times in the last 10 years. 

No. 5 Florida dropped to 16-8 overall, 3-3 in the SEC, while South Carolina improved to 16-6, 4-2 by belting five home runs Sunday.

Freshman Sterlin Thompson (Ocala) drilled his first home run of the season to give UF a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

That lead lasted mere minutes, as South Carolina touched starting pitcher Hunter Barco (3-2) with three wind-aided home runs in the bottom of the second: Wes Clarke (his nation-leading 13th of the season), Andrew Eyster (Ocala) and Colin Burgess.

South Carolina kept up the home-run barrage in the third when Brady Allen hit one out for a 4-1 lead.

Kirby McMullen belted a two-run home run in the fourth to bring the Gators within 4-3. Nathan Hickey had reached on an error before McMullen's sixth home run of the season.

The Gamecocks, winners of vie in a row, then blew the game open with a four-run sixth inning off UF reliever Ben Specht. George Callil hit a two-run double before Allen belted his second home run of the game to make it 8-3.

Hickey hit a two-run double in the eighth to bring UF to 8-5.

It was a rough series at the plate for the Gators, striking out 45 times over 32 innings, including 14 times Sunday. UF freshman Jud Fabian, the SEC co-Player of the Week, was 0 for 13 in the series, including 11 strikeouts.

Will Sanders (4-1) earned the win for the Gamecocks, allowing three runs — two earned on two hits while striking out six in his four-inning start. Relievers Julian Bosnic and Brett Kerry combined to strike out eight the rest of the way.

UF will host Mercer on Tuesday and then welcome Ole Miss for a three-game set Thursday.

Up next

Who: Mercer at Florida

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM

Live stream: SEC Network+