CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheBigSpur.com) -- Going into Tuesday's border rivalry game, South Carolina had 10 losses but for the first time this year, the Gamecocks were embarrassed.
North Carolina scored 12 runs in the first four innings of the game and coasted to a 20-5 victory at BB&T Ballpark. The Gamecocks were overmatched from the start of the game, especially when in the field.
Each of the first seven pitchers that South Carolina used gave up multiple runs and while the Gamecocks were competitive offensively, allowing so many runs kept any kind of comeback from happening.
"I thought we were excited and ready to play, but the name of the game is pitching and defense, and we fell short in the pitching department tonight," fifth-year head coach Chad Holbrook said. "It's disappointing."
Starting pitcher Cody Morris allowed four runs in the bottom of the first inning and was only able to register two outs before being pulled in favor of freshman Colby Lee, who allowed two runs but only recorded two outs.
Junior John Parke allowed two runs in two innings while sophomore Graham Lawson gave up two without recording an out. Four pitchers in, the Gamecocks were down 12-3 with little chance of battling back.
"This is one out of 56," Holbrook said. "It's not going to hurt you playing maybe the hottest team in the country right now. The loss is going to hurt me because it's a loss, hurt us because it's a loss, but we can't let this one turn into another one. We have to flush it and ready to come to the park Friday."
Senior Reed Scott allowed two runs in the six-run fourth inning, but pitched a scoreless fifth inning. Another scored on him in the sixth and it only got worse when freshman Sawyer Bridges entered in the seventh allowing four runs on two hits and two walks.
Offensively, the Gamecocks were able to pound 13 hits off of five Tar Heels pitchers and while they were able to hang with their opposition in the hit column, they didn't come close to matching the run total.
"It's baseball, it happens," Tolbert said. "Sometimes you have games like these. It's unfortunate it's happened in this game two years in a row. I think we came out here ready to play, but it just didn't go our way today."
South Carolina left 11 runners on base while North Carolina stranded only six. Gamecocks pitchers walked 10 while the Tar Heels issued only three free passes.
South Carolina returns home to face Mississippi State in a best-of-three game series beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. on SEC Network +. Junior Clarke Schmidt will get the start on the mound for the Gamecocks.