Tennessee drops SEC opener to No. 12 South Carolina

Tennessee's bats were kept cold on Saturday night, as the Vols fell to No. 12 South Carolina in their conference opener.

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KNOXVILLE, TN - MARCH 17, 2017 - Right Handed Pitcher Hunter Martin #12 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 Alison P. McNabb\Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee (12-3) dropped its SEC opener to No. 12 South Carolina (12-5) on Friday night, 7-1.

Hunter Martin received the start for Tennessee, turning in an impressive outing. The senior pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, six hits, one walk and striking out seven. Martin also got the loss on the evening.

Martin set down the Gamecocks in order during four separate innings and worked himself out of multiple jams to keep the game close. In the top of the third, the senior induced a ground ball for a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out to end the inning.

In the top of the third inning, South Carolina jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when designated hitter TJ Hopkins singled up the middle to drive in Jacob Olson.

Martin kept South Carolina in check after that, however, until the seventh inning.

The Vols’ familiar faces tied things up before that, though. Tennessee third baseman Jordan Rodgers hit a double off the left field wall to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. In the next at-bat, Benito Santiago flew out to left, allowing Rodgers to tag up to third. With one out, freshman Andre Lipcius singled to score Rodgers from third and tie the game up at 1-1.

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long, as the Gamecocks scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth inning.

The damage in the seventh came on one swing from Olson. His towering three-run homer over the left field fence broke the tie and give South Carolina a 4-1 lead.

Jacob Olson got the scoring going for the Gamecocks in the top of the eighth inning, hitting a solo home run to extend South Carolina’s lead to 5-1. Shortstop Madison Stokes then doubled to score third baseman Jonah Bride, making it a 6-1 ball game. South Carolina concluded the eighth with a 7-1 lead after LT Tolbert hit an RBI single.

Tennessee’s bats were cold for much of the evening, only tallying seven hits. The Vols struck out eight times and left seven runners on base.

South Carolina right hander Adam Hill received the start for the Gamecocks, pitching 6.0 innings. Hill gave up six hits, one earned run, three walks and struck out five.

Game two of the three-game series is set for tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Senior southpaw Zach Warren (2-1, 3.44 ERA) is set to receive the start on the mound for the Vols.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Alison P. McNabb, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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