HOOVER, Ala. - A pitching duel between No. 2 seed South Carolina (42-15) and No. 3 seed Texas A&M (42-14-1) broke out in the first elimination game of the 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament. The Aggies beat the Gamecocks 4-1, thanks to a commanding performance by Texas A&M right-hander Brigham Hill (8-1).
Hill allowed five hits, one run and struck out eight batters in seven innings. The sophomore pitcher's lone rough patch came in the third, where he allowed one hit and one run compounded by two fielding errors by the Aggies' defense. Hill recovered, holding the Gamecocks scoreless over the next four innings.
The Aggies' bullpen closed the final two innings out with Mitchell Kilkenny and Mark Ecker. Both pitchers threw for one inning, allowing zero hits. Ecker earned his fifth save on the season.
The Texas A&M offense struck first in the top of the second when Nick Banks hit an RBI single through the left side, bringing in Ryne Birk from second. Two pitches later Banks scored off a Michael Barash' RBI double. On the very next pitch Jonathan Moroney brought Barash in with a right-field single to put the Aggies up 3-0.
The bottom four hitters in the Aggies' batting order went 7-for-15 with three runs and 4 RBI. Batters six through nine have account for 14 of the Aggies' 17 hits in the SEC Tournament.
"It's just the guys in front of me getting on base and we're just getting the momentum going," Moroney said. "I'm trying to keep it going and pass it on to the next guy. Good or bad, one after the other it just leads to a win and that's what we need and that's what we need to keep going in this tournament."
South Carolina's lone offensive push happened in the bottom of the third when Gene Cone scored from first base on a Texas A&M fielding error.
This was South Carolina's eighth consecutive loss in the SEC Tournament the third-longest losing streak in tournament history.
UP NEXT: Texas A&M will play the winner of Game 11 between No. 6 seed Vanderbilt and No. 7 seed Ole Miss in the Quarterfinal round at 4:00 pm ET / 3:00 pm CT on Friday.