From staff reports/File photo by Allen Sharpe
South Carolina was one out away from winning its first SEC series of the season Saturday when Florida's Jordan Butler hit a walk-off, three-run home run to lift the Gators to a 6-4 win McKethan Stadium.
South Carolina (21-15, 4-11) won Game 2 on Friday to set up the rubber match on Saturday. The Gamecocks led 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth but could not get the final out. They have now lost all five of its SEC series this season.
The two teams traded home runs in the second inning, both to the bleachers in left. Freshman Brady Allen hit a solo shot with one out in the top of the second, while Butler led off the bottom of the inning with an opposite field solo home run.
Carolina scored a run in the third as Luke Berryhill brought in TJ Hopkins with a double to the gap in left. Florida answered in the bottom of the third as Austin Langworthy drove in a run with a single to center. The Gamecocks took a 4-2 lead in the fifth. Noah Campbell led off with a bad-hop single to first. He went to third on George Callil's single to right and scored on Hopkins' fielder's choice. With two out and Hopkins on second, Jacob Olson singled through the hole between shortstop and third base, giving Carolina a two-run lead.
Florida scored a run in the seventh on a Brady McConnell RBI single. The Gators loaded the bases in that inning, but a line out to short ended that threat. In the ninth, freshman Wesley Sweatt struck out the first two batters of the inning, but in a sudden downpour of rain, walked the next two batters ahead of Butler's walk-off home run.
Allen had two of Carolina's seven hits on the day. TJ Shook started on the mound for Carolina. He allowed four hits and two runs with four strikeouts in five innings of work. Sweatt was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs in 1.2 innings pitched with three strikeouts.
Butler's three-run home run is the first time the Gamecocks have been walked off this season.
The Gamecock offense had just one hit in the final four innings of play.
Carolina makes its second trip of the season to BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte as the Gamecocks face North Carolina Tuesday night at 7 p.m.