Tennessee’s power surge in the fourth dooms Carolina in series opener
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Carolina was unable to claw back in a home loss to fourth-ranked Tennessee on Thursday night. The Vols defeated the 21st-ranked Gamecocks 10-4 to open the final regular-season league series for both.
Gamecock starting pitcher Brannon Jordan stumbled in the fourth inning, failing to finish it before being given an early curtain call. Jordan tagged for two two-run homers in the frame. He gave up six runs in the fourth, seven in all for his outing.
“Brannon was really good early on and lost it in the fourth obviously,” said head coach Mark Kingston. “That one inning was the difference in the ball game.”
Kingston has confidence Jordan will grow from a rough night against the Vols.
“I told him he has carried us all year,” added Kingston. “We have his back. I have his back. Everybody in this dugout has his back. He’ll learn something from tonight that will help him win a regional or super regional game. We’re not going to bail on him.”
Carolina’s resolve never in question. Down 7-0 in the fourth, Wes Clarke belted his 21st home run of the season. His two-run shot cut the lead to 7-2.
It stayed that way till the 8th when Andrew Eyster drilled a two-run homer to dead center.
Carolina had a chance to send the tying run to the plate a couple of batters later. But, Braylen Wimmer went down looking on called strike three on a 3-2 count.
Coach Kingston rushed to Wimmer to steer him away from arguing with the umpire. Kingston quickly offered his thoughts to the ump and signaled to the home plate umpire that he felt the pitch was low and away.
Pitcher John Gilreath kept Carolina in striking distance with a quality appearance out of the pen. He allowed a pair of runs (both in the 9th) on four hits in five innings of relief.
With the win, Tennessee snapped an 11-game losing streak in Columbia.
Carolina continues its series with Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m. at Founders Park.
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