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March 28, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 36 South Carolina lost a heartbreaking 4-3 match at No. 61 LSU Friday afternoon as the Gamecocks saw the Tigers rally back to force third sets in four singles matches. Due to impending weather, the teams opened with singles, which resulted in a 3-3 tie, leaving doubles to decide the outcome.

The Gamecocks stormed out of the gates, winning four of the six first sets. Playing to the home fans, the Tigers battled back, though, winning the second sets in all four. Other than the No. 4 match where Thiago Pinheiro retired against Andrew Korinek in the second set, every match went to a third set as No. 88 Tsvetan Mihov rallied to win his second set over Justin Butsch in the No. 2 match.

With the Tigers leading 1-0 and winning so many second sets, the Gamecocks needed to change the momentum. The first move came from the top of the lineup where Andrew Adams got out to a quick 2-0 lead on No. 77 Chris Simpson in their decisive third set. Chip Cox was next, opening up a 4-1 lead on Boris Arias in the No. 3 match. Mihov and Kyle Koch were on serve in the Nos. 2 and 5 matches, but Andrew Schafer fell behind 3-0 to Tam Trinh at the bottom of the order.

As Adams closed out his win over Simpson, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, to even the match at 1-1, Koch made his move against Harrison Kennedy, pushing ahead 4-2 in the third set. Schafer was getting back on track as well, winning three straight games to even his third set with Trinh 3-3. Arias was rallying against Cox, though turning his 5-1 deficit into a 5-4 set.

Koch stayed the course, finishing off Kennedy 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 for a 2-1 Gamecock lead, just as Mihov broke Butsch’s serve to go up 5-3. Arias was still on the march, though, leveling his set with Cox at 5-5. Mihov made it a 3-1 South Carolina advantage with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Butsch. The momentum did not stay with the Gamecocks long, as Arias completed his comeback with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over Cox and Trinh held off Schafer 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to knot the team scoring at 3-3. The victory would come down to which team could claim two of the three doubles matches.

Doubles was tight on all three courts early, but the Tigers went ahead in the Nos. 1 and 3 matches six games in. In the No. 2 match, Adams and Koch kept their winning streak alive, winning three straight games to close out the 8-4 victory over Simpson and Butsch. Korinek and Arias closed out their win over Pinheiro and Sam Swank 8-4, leaving the match up to the No. 1 doubles contest. No. 70 Trinh and Perez held off Cox and Mihov late to close out the 8-6 victory that delivered the team victory for LSU.

The Gamecocks continue league play at No. 71 Arkansas on Sun., March 30, at 1 p.m.

#61 LSU 4, #36 South Carolina 3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (70) Tam Trinh/Eric Perez (LSU) def. Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 8-6
2. Andrew Adams/Kyle Koch (SC) def. Chris Simpson/Justin Butsch (LSU) 8-4
3. Andrew Korinek/Boris Arias (LSU) def. Thiago Pinheiro/Sam Swank (SC) 8-4

Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 1, 5, 2, 3, 6)
1. Andrew Adams (SC) def. (77) Chris Simpson (LSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
2. (88) Tsvetan Mihov def. (SC) Justin Butsch (LSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
3. Boris Arias (LSU) def. Chip Cox (SC) 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
4. Andre Korinek (LSU) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-4, 3-2 retired
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Harrison Kennedy (SC) 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
6. Tam Trinh (LSU) def. Andrew Schafer (SC) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4