Missed opportunities cost Vols in 6-4 loss to Gamecocks

Tennessee dropped a second-straight game to No. 8 South Carolina, this time in extra innings.

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KNOXVILLE, TN - MARCH 18, 2017 - #28 Jon Lipinski of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Volunteers at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee had plenty of chances against No. 8 South Carolina in the second game of the weekend series.

The Vols (12-4, 0-2 SEC), though, couldn’t capitalize on most, leaving 10 runners on base in a 6-4 loss to No. 12 South Carolina (13-5, 2-0 SEC) in 10 innings.

It was a pitcher’s duel through the first two innings between South Carolina starter and Sevierville native Wil Crowe and Zach Warren of Tennessee. Jordan Rodgers reached on a single in the bottom half of the first, but Tennessee couldn’t cash it in. The Vols then had two men reach in the second, but again failed to plate any runs.

Tennessee changed its luck in the bottom half of the third. After walks from Jay Charleston and Jordan Rodgers, first baseman Andre Lipcus knocked in the first run of the game with an RBI single that skirted through the right side of the Gamecocks’ defense. In the following at-bat, Jordan Rodgers scored the Vols’ second run of the game when South Carolina catcher Hunter Taylor bobbled the ball while trying to throw Lipcus out at second.

South Carolina quickly struck back to take the lead in the next inning. Gamecock center fielder TJ Hopkins lead off the inning with a solo homer to left field. Zach Warren then walked the next two batters, but forced South Carolina designated hitter Chris Cullen to ground into a double play to get two quick outs. However, Gamecock third baseman Jonah Bride hit the very next pitch over the wall in deep left center, scoring two and giving South Carolina and 3-2 lead.

Three consecutive singles from Max Bartlett, Brodie Leftridge and Jeff Moberg in the bottom of the inning tied things up at three. With a chance for more, though, the Vols stranded Leftridge on second base after he he made it there with only one out.

In the fifth, the Vols put Derkay and Lipcus on first and third with only one out in the inning. However, pop outs from right fielder Dom Thornton and Bartlett ended Tennessee’s hope of taking the lead.

In the top of the sixth, South Carolina worked Warren into a jam. After a walk, wild pitch and single, the Gamecocks put runners on first and third with only one out. Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano went to the bullpen, bringing in freshman Zach Linginfelter, who got two quick outs to end the threat.

South Carolina scored an unearned run to start the eighth to go back on top, 4-3. In the bottom half of the inning, Matt Waldren pinch-hit for Dom Thornton and hit his first career home run to tie the game at four. Unfortunately for the Vols, they also left two runners on to end the inning after Jay Charleston struck out looking.

After an uneventful ninth, the game moved to extra innings. Linginfelter pitched into the 10th but was pulled for closer Jon Lipinski after surrendering a single and two walks to load the bases. After getting the second out, Lipinski then walked Bride to score the go-ahead run. South Carolina right fielder Jacob Olsen was then hit by a pitch to put the score at 6-4.

The Vols put two men on in the bottom of the inning. but failed one last time to get hits with runners in scoring position.

Tennessee plays No. 8 South Carolina in the last game of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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