May 12, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- James Adkins turned in his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season Friday, but three South Carolina home runs helped lift the seventh-ranked Gamecocks to a 7-1 win over the Tennessee in front of 2,350 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers fell to 29-21 (10-13 SEC) with the loss and will look to even the series Saturday at 7 p.m.
Adkins and Gamecocks starting pitcher Arik Hempy controlled the game early, as the lefties combined for nine strikeouts through the first three innings. The Vols managed just one hit during that span, while Carolina (37-14, 14-11 SEC) collected just two hits. Adkins went on to work seven innings in which he was touched for five runs (four earned) with four walks and 11 strikeouts. He fell to 5-7 with the loss.
South Carolina broke through in the top of the fourth, however, when right fielder Andrew Crisp smacked a two run homer following a one-out walk by catcher Trent Kline.
The Vols drew a pair of leadoff walks in the bottom of the fifth inning, and both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Andy Simunic. Preseason All-America centerfielder Julio Borbon then sent an RBI line drive through the right side of the Carolina infield. Danny Lima attempted to score from second base on the play but was thrown out at the plate by Crisp, whose outfield assist kept the Gamecocks on top 2-1.
Borbon's 21st RBI of the season marked the end of Hempy's outing, as right-hander Jeff Jeffords was called out of the bullpen. Hempy allowed just one run on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts through 4 2/3 innings but fell one out short of earning the win.
South Carolina designated hitter Phil Disher reached on an error to lead off the sixth inning, and it proved costly when he later scored on a basehit by Crisp to restore the Gamecocks two-run edge. Adkins closed out the half-inning by striking out Cheyne Hurst for the third time in three plate appearances. The strikeout was Adkins' 10th of the night and the 365th of his career, moving him past Jeff Brantley (Mississippi State, 1982-85) into ninth place on the SEC's all-time strikeouts list.
The Gamecocks used another two-run homer in the seventh inning to build a 5-1 lead. Second baseman Travis Jones belted his 16th round-tripper of the season two batters after Steven Reinhold struck out but reached base on a wild pitch.
Disher hit South Carolina's SEC-leading 93rd home run of the season in the eighth inning. His solo shot put the Gamecocks up by five runs, and they added one final tally in the ninth when Reinhold scored on an RBI basehit by James Darnell.
Jeffords (5-1) picked up the win after working 4 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings with four walks and six strikeouts. Gamecocks pitchers totaled 11 strikeouts on the night, while UT pitchers fanned 14. Vols reliever Danny Wiltz recorded three strikeouts, but was tagged for two runs on three hits in the final two innings.
Junior Chad Maddox made his Tennessee debut for the Vols Friday, starting in right field and going 0-for-3 at the plate. The Cookeville, Tenn., native was last season's national junior college home runs leader, as his 25 longballs helped lead Walters State to a national title.
The teams were forced to sit through a 73-minute rain delay in the top of the first inning.
Saturday's contest will be televised regionally by CSS, and will feature freshman left-hander Nick Hernandez (3-2, 5.44 ERA) on the mound for UT opposite Gamecocks right-hander Harris Honeycutt (7-4, 3.63 ERA).