Gamecocks win third straight with 5-2 victory over North Florida
COLUMBIA - The University of South Carolina baseball team picked up its third straight win, defeating North Florida, 5-2, behind a balanced effort from the pitching staff and strong plate appearances that included 10 hits, a double, a triple, and a home run.
Freshman John Gilreath started off the evening on the mound, striking out two in the first inning.
Jacob Olson's solo shot in the bottom half of the second inning put South Carolina up 1-0. It was Olson's second home run of the season.
UNF's Raff Libuano got on base with a walk in the third inning, but a 9-3 double play between Olson and Chris Cullen put both batter and runner back on the bench. Gilreath ended the inning with his third strikeout of the day.
In the bottom half of the fourth inning, LT Tolbert got on base and stole second. A Justin Row single to center field scored Tolbert to extend the Gamecock lead, 2-0, after four complete.
Sawyer Bridges came in to pitch for the Gamecocks in the fifth inning. The Ospreys got a runner on base but Bridges, Hunter Taylor and Tolbert caught the runner stealing. A North Florida single from Libuano to right center scored Mac Wilson and cut the South Carolina lead. Libuano moved to second on a throwing error and a single by Jay Prather scored Libuano, tying the game up at 2-2.
Tolbert got on base with a single up the middle in the top of sixth. With one out, Cullen singled to right and moved Tolbert to third. Olson's single to center sent Tolbert home, putting the Gamecocks ahead to stay.
The Gamecocks continued to extend their lead in the bottom of the seventh when Noah Campbell got on base and Hopkins got on with a single to left. Tolbert was intentionally walked, leaving the bases loaded for Cullen who was walked to score Campbell and put the Gamecocks ahead of the Ospreys, 4-2, going in to the eighth inning.
The bats stayed alive in the bottom of the eighth as Campbell tripled to left field, followed by a double for Hopkins to score Campbell. The Gamecocks extended their lead over the Ospreys, 5-2.
Bridges was credited with the win while Eddy Demurias was credited with the save for the Gamecocks. Matt Vaka gets the loss for North Florida as he allowed one run and three hits.