COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Sixth ranked South Carolina broke a 4-4 tie with a pair of runs in the sixth inning and an insurance run in the eighth and freshman right-hander Braden Webb struck out 10 batters in 7.1 innings of work to pick up his seventh win of the year as the Gamecocks defeated Tennessee 7-4 on Saturday afternoon to clinch the weekend series. Carolina is 27-5 and 9-2 in the SEC with Tennessee dropping to 18-13 and 3-8 in league play.
Tied at 4-4 entering the bottom of the sixth, Chris Cullen and TJ Hopkins each walked to give Carolina a pair of runners. After a successful sac bunt by DC Arendas moved both runners into scoring position, Marcus Mooney drove in Cullen with a RBI infield single. With runners on the corners and a ball in the dirt, Mooney began to break for second base. Tennessee catcher Benito Santiago threw down to first base and Mooney got caught in a rundown, but kept it going long enough to allow Hopkins to score and give Carolina a two-run lead. Carolina made it 7-4 in the eighth loading the bases with two outs with Hopkins scoring on a hit by pitch that allowed LT Tolbert to reach base.
Webb is now 7-1 on the year. He allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Junior right-hander Reed Scott pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first save of the year. Tennessee left-hander Zach Warren suffered the loss and is 4-3 for the season. He allowed six runs, two earned, on eight hits in seven innings with three walks and threes strikeouts.
Tennessee would go ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Chris Hall was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Vincent Jackson's two-out RBI single.
Carolina answered though in the bottom half of the first with four runs to take a 4-1 lead. Gene Cone reached base to lead off the inning on a dropped fly ball by left fielder Vincent Jackson. With two outs, Dom Thompson-Williams walked to give the Gamecocks runners on first and second base. Jonah Bride would deliver as he knocked a RBI single to right field to score Cone. Chris Cullen followed with a RBI double down the right field line to score both runners and TJ Hopkins knocked a RBI single to right field scoring Cullen.
The Volunteers responded with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning to cut the Carolina lead to 4-3. Max Bartlett and Derek Lance each tallied one-out RBI singles. Tennessee tied it at 4-4 in the fifth inning. Chris Hall singled with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jackson's two-out bloop RBI single to center.