KNOXVILLE, TENN. - Jacob Olson broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning and seventh ranked South Carolina added three more runs in the eighth inning as the Gamecocks defeated Tennessee 7-1 in the SEC opener on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 12-5 and 1-0 in league play with the Volunteers 12-3 and 0-1 in the SEC.
Sophomore right-hander Adam Hill earned the win and is now 1-2 for the season. He allowed just one run on six hits in six innings of work with five strikeouts and three walks. Senior right-hander Reed Scott pitched three scoreless innings of relief with just one hit allowed and three strikeouts for his second save of the year. Tennessee senior right-hander Hunter Martin suffered the loss and is 3-2 for the season. He allowed two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the third inning. Olson led off with a single followed by a double off the bat of LT Tolbert. TJ Hopkins would drive in Olson with a RBI single up the middle.
Tennessee tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jordan Rodgers led off the frame with a double and scored on Andre Lipcius' one-out RBI single up the middle.
Carolina responded though in the seventh on Olson's homer to take a 4-1 lead. A one-out double by Bride in the seventh inning followed by a base hit from Madison Stokes gave the Gamecocks runners on the corners and the stage for Olson. On the first pitch he saw from Tennessee reliever Garrett Stallings, Olson launched his fourth homer of the year over the left field wall to give Carolina a three-run cushion.
That lead extended to 7-1 in the eighth inning as Cullen belted his fourth homer of the year with Stokes adding a RBI double and Tolbert driving in a run with a single.
GAME CHANGER Jacob Olson's three-run homer gave the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish.
KEY STAT All nine Gamecock starters tallied at least one hit with five Gamecocks putting together multi-hit games. Cullen was 3-for-5 with Bride and Stokes 2-for-5 and Olson and Tolbert both 2-for-4 at the plate. The 15-hit day at the plate tied a season-high set on March 7 vs. The Citadel.
NOTABLES - Chris Cullen tied a career-high with his three-hit performance. It marked sixth time in his career and second of the season with three hits in a game. - Jonah Bride doubled twice to tie a career-high. It was the third time in his career that he has had two doubles in a game. - Six of the season-high 15 hits for the Gamecocks were extra base hits. - South Carolina is 10-2 on the year when scoring first in a game. The Gamecocks are 6-1 when scoring six or more runs and also 11-3 when allowing five runs or less. - South Carolina has out-hit its opponent in 15 of 17 games this year.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK "It was a big win for us. On Friday night in this league, it's a big win. Adam was terrific, his first start on a Friday night. He kept us in there against a real good hitting team that has a great plate approach. He got some pitches when some guys got out there early in the game. He kind of kept them at bay. We got ahead 1-0 and I thought we could have done a lot more damage that inning. Usually on the road, when you let an inning go by like that when you could have got three or four, and you only get one, it sometimes comes back and gets you. Olson stepped up there in the seventh and hit one out of sight and got the momentum back into our dugout. Reed finished it off and was terrific. We played defense behind them against a real good team. Jonah was spectacular at third. It was a great team win - a complete win. It's just one win and we will come back to the park tomorrow and see if we can play like we played today.
UP NEXT South Carolina and Tennessee continue the series on Saturday with first pitch at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."