COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Josh Adams had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning to lift Florida to the Southeastern Conference championship with a 5-2 victory over South Carolina on Friday night.
The Gators (40-12) took the opening two games of the showdown series to earn their first league title since 2005. The teams conclude the regular season Saturday.
The Gamecocks (42-13) had hoped Sam Dyson's arm and a record-setting crowd of 8,242 at two-year old Carolina Stadium would force a one-game battle for the crown on Saturday. Instead, Florida used the same combination of timely hitting and a lockdown bullpen as it did on Thursday to put away South Carolina again.
Adams, who entered the game batting .216, had the biggest hit, a two-out double that scored Bryson Smith and Daniel Pigott with the decisive runs. The Florida junior also doubled and scored the tying run in the sixth and added an RBI single in the ninth.
Gator relievers Steven Rodriguez, Greg Larson and Kevin Chapman allowed just two singles in 3 2-3 innings of work.
The house was packed Thursday night with a standing room only crowd at Carolina Stadium. They did their best to cheer on the Gamecocks, but Florida pulled out a 3-2 win. South Carolina starter Blake Cooper suffered his first loss of the season and is now 10-1 on the year. He allowed three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
This was the biggest regular season series during Ray Tanner's tenure. The coach says these are the type games he envisioned when Carolina Stadium was on the drawing board.
South Carolina has clinched the No. 3 seed for next week's SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. They will face a to be determined No. 6 seed in the second game of the tournament on Wednesday, May 26. That game is scheduled to begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one, which is scheduled for 10:30am.