May 14, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ryne Birk went 3-for-4 with a homer and a pair of runs driven in and Andrew Vinson pitched 4.1 scoreless innings of relief as second ranked Texas A&M defeated third ranked South Carolina 5-2 on Saturday night at Founders Park. The Aggies are 39-10 and 18-8 in the SEC with the Gamecocks 37-13 and 16-9 in league play.
Vinson struck out three and walked one to improve to 3-2 on the year with just one hit allowed. Gamecock freshman right-hander Braden Webb suffered the loss and is 9-4 for the season. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
South Carolina manufactured a run in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. TJ Hopkins led off with a base hit to left field and Gene Cone walked to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners. With one out, both runners advanced on a wild pitch followed by a RBI groundout to first off the bat of Alex Destino to score Hopkins.
Texas A&M responded with a three-run fourth inning to take a two-run lead. Nick Choruby led off with a single up the middle, advanced to second on a failed pickoff and scored as a grounder off the bat of Boomer White went past second baseman Madison Stokes to put the Aggies on the scoreboard. With one out, Texas A&M would go ahead 3-1 on Ryne Birk’s two-run homer to right-center, his sixth homer of the year.
Stokes answered for South Carolina in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to a run. Stokes made it a 3-2 game as he drilled a 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for his first career homer.
The Aggies would scratch across a run in the sixth inning to go ahead 4-2. Birk would single with one out, steal second base and score on Hunter Banks’ two-out RBI single to left field. Birk would factor in another run for A&M in the eighth inning to increase the lead to three runs. He doubled to lead off the frame to left-center, advanced to third on a sac bunt and scored on Ronnie Gideon’s sacrifice fly to right field to give the Aggies a 5-2 advantage.
Vinson’s appearance out of the bullpen with 4.1 scoreless innings of relief helped lead the Aggies to the victory.
Texas A&M out-hit South Carolina 9-3 in the contest.
Saturday night’s game was a sellout crowd of 8,242 at Founders Park, the fifth of the season and 48th all-time at Founders Park.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
This was the same story tonight as it was last night. Their pitchers pretty much dominated our hitters. We’re forcing our pitchers to be almost perfect against maybe the best offensive team in the country. We’re asking too much from our pitching staff. We have to figure out a way to get a lineup in there that can score a few runs, get some hits and play with some competitiveness and determination. Those are things we try to pride ourselves on around here. Obviously we have lacked that in the past two games. Hopefully I can put the right guys in there tomorrow that will give us a spark and try to find a way to play a more competitive game.
South Carolina and Texas A&M close out the series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”