Grant Benefield, Sports Reporter
After opening the 2018 season to a hot 9-3 record, Gamecock baseball stumbled in its first OVC series of the year, dropping two of three to Austin Peay by scores of 7-4, 7-6, before winning the final game 13-0.
Game one of the weekend series started well for the Gamecocks (10-5, 1-2). In the bottom of the third, designated hitter Trent Simpson belted a three-run home run that scored Taylor Hawthorne and Clayton Daniel.
Both teams tallied a run in the fourth, with JSU hitting another home run—this time a solo shot from catcher Nic Gaddis.
The Governors (10-6, 2-1) scored three runs to tie the game in the fifth, and later broke through Gamecock reliever Tyler Wilburn to take the 5-4 lead in the seventh. Wilburn (2-1) would take the loss, his first of the season.
Two more runs in the eighth would be all the insurance the visitors needed to secure game one of the series.
The Governors would waste no time getting on the board Saturday, scoring runs off of Gamecock starting pitcher Derrick Adams in the first and second inning to take the 2-0 lead.
An RBI single from Gaddis and a two run shot from Simpson gave the Gamecocks a short-lived 3-2 lead in the fourth, before Austin Peay tacked on a tying run in the fifth and took the lead in the sixth off of Gamecock reliever Christian Edwards (0-1).
The Govs added two more runs in the eighth for some needed insurance, as the Gamecocks would load the bases in bottom of the inning.
Austin Peay found a way out of the jam, surrendering just one run in the eighth off of a fielder’s choice ground ball from Isaac Alexander that brought the score to its 6-4 final, securing the series for the Governors.
But while Austin Peay took the series, the Gamecocks would make sure to leave the visitors with something to remember them by—a 13-0 walloping in game three on Sunday.
The Gamecocks exploded for a season-high 18 hits on their way to the victory.
Trent Simpson kept up his monstrous series performance, going 2-for-4 with 5 RBI including a 3-run blast, his third homer of the series.
Colton Pate (3-1) earned his third win of the season, pitching six scoreless frames with 8 K’s and 3 walks.
The Gamecocks will now look to their next OVC series this weekend as they travel to take on Eastern Illinois starting on Friday.