March 29, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Following a 1-hour and 15-minute rain delay to start the game, the No. 21 Diamond Vols and No. 2 South Carolina played 11 innings and were tied 2-2 heading to the 12th when the rain fell again and suspended action for the night.
Christin Stewart got things going for the Vols in the fourth inning by slapping a one-out double down the left field line. The double extended his hit streak to a team-best 11 games. Freshman Nick Senzel - the Vols' batting average and RBI leader entering the game - bounced a slow-roller to SC's Marcus Mooney at shortstop and would beat out the play at first to put runners on the corners with one down.
Nathaniel Maggio followed with a hard-hit tailing ball into left field. On a full sprint in, South Carolina's Elliott Caldwell dropped the ball, allowing Stewart to cross the plate and giving the Vols a 1-0 lead. Senzel slipped rounding third base and had to go back to the bag. They play was ruled an error on Caldwell.
The Vols made some great defensive plays on the night, but the highlight came in the fourth frame. Sophomore shortstop A.J. Simcox made a diving snag on a groundball behind second base, flipped it to Maddox with his glove, and Maddox fired it over to Maggio at first base to complete the 6-4-3 double play.
Senior right-handed pitcher Nick Williams and the Vols quickly got two outs in the bottom half of the sixth. However, South Carolina's Joey Pankake would extend his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-out single into right center. Kyle Martin then roped a double all the way to the wall in the left-center gap, allowing Pankake to come home from first and tie the game at 1-1.
Tennessee re-gained its one-run lead in the eighth inning as Maddox led off the frame with a four-pitch walk. Cody Mincey came in to relieve South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery. Mincey plunked Scott Price on the first pitch and Simcox laid down a sac bunt to move the runners over to second and third. Stewart then a long sac fly to right field to put Tennessee back ahead by one at 2-1. Montgomery allowed just four hits and two runs with six strikeouts over seven innings of work.
Williams game up a leadoff single in the eighth inning, but would get the next two Gamecocks out before making way for sophomore southpaw Andy Cox after 7 2/3 innings. South Carolina would bring home the game-tying run on a passed ball during Cox's first batter faced. Williams allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out five. The Knoxville native did not walk a single batter in the outing.
The Orange and White left the bases loaded in the 10th inning.
First pitch of the 12th frame is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, with Saturday's originally scheduled contest to follow the conclusion of the first game. Sunday's finale is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET.