Gators Baseball swept by Gamecocks for first time since 2006
Barco gives up four home runs in loss
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCJB) - No. 5 ranked Florida entered Sunday’s series finale against No. 25 ranked South Carolina with hopes of scratching out a win to avoid being swept by the Gamecocks for the first time since 2006.
But that hope faded with each home run starting pitcher Hunter Barco surrendered.
The Gators (16-8) came in to the third and final game having lost the first two games by a total of four runs.
With Hunter Barco on the hill, a normally reliable starter who struck out 19 batters between his last two starts, Florida felt it had a solid chance of recording at least one win in the series.
In the top of the second, right fielder Sterling Thompson gave the Gators some life with a solo home run to right. It was his first homer of the season, and put Florida ahead 1-0.
But as the evidence of the first two games of this series have shown, the orange and blue just can’t seem to hold on to leads.
Barco surrendered the game tying home run in the bottom of the second to Wes Clarke, who leads the NCAA in home runs (13). He then gave up a home run to the next batter, Andrew Eyster as the Gamecocks (16-6) exploded out of the dugout and into the lead, 2-1.
The inning didn’t end until Barco gave up one more solo shot to find his team down 3-1. In total, Barco went five full innings, but allowed four earned runs on six hits. Four of the 6 hits given up were solo home runs.
In the top of the fourth, Kirby McMullen launched a 2-run home run to center field to cut Florida’s deficit to 4-3, but South Carolina pulled away in the bottom of the 6th, when George Callil smacked a 2-run double to left field.
While the Gators didn’t give up and added two more runs down the stretch, the Gamecocks answered right back and ultimately won 8-5.
This is the first series South Carolina has won against Florida since 2011 and the first time they swept Florida since 2006.
Florida will take Monday off and prepare to face Mercer at home on Tuesday.
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