South Carolina’s lineup struggles in series-opening loss to LSU

Greg Hadley
·2 min read

For the third consecutive week, South Carolina baseball has dropped the opener of its SEC series, falling 5-1 to LSU on the road Thursday.

Twice before, the No. 11 Gamecocks have rallied to claim the next two wins and the series victory. To do so again in Baton Rouge, they’ll have to bounce back from an anemic offensive performance Thursday in which they struck out 16 times, their most since Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter no-hitter in the first weekend of conference play.

Landon Marceaux, LSU’s starter Thursday, wasn’t quite as masterful as Leiter was in that March 20 game. But he did more than enough to claim the win, striking out 12 batters in seven shutout innings, giving up just three hits and one walk along the way.

Marceaux was also helped by some strong defense behind him. In particular, freshman shortstop Jordan Thompson made two run-saving plays late in the outing.

In the bottom of the sixth, USC put two on with one out when junior outfielder Brady Allen singled and junior outfielder Josiah Sightler was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch then moved the runners to second and third, but after junior DH Wes Clarke struck out chasing a pitch in the dirt, Thompson made an impressive diving play and throw to rob senior outfielder Andrew Eyster of an RBI single.

USC junior first baseman David Mendham then led off the seventh with a triple to the right-center field gap, but with one out, sophomore third baseman Brennan Milone sent a ground ball to short. Mendham immediately broke for home, and the throw from Thompson beat him to the plate easily for the second out, erasing the threat.

The Gamecocks finally managed to scratch a run across in the ninth inning thanks to an error, a walk, a hit by pitch and a double play. But all told, South Carolina went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

On the other side of things, Gamecock starter Thomas Farr’s frustrating stretch on the mound continued. After surrendering two quick runs in the first inning off a home run from junior Gavin Dugas, he rallied to gut out four scoreless innings but was still tagged with the loss. In his past six starts, he has only given up more than three earned runs once but has never made it past the sixth inning, and South Carolina has gone 1-5 in those games.

LSU padded its lead in the seventh inning off reliever Daniel Lloyd with a walk, RBI double, single and sacrifice fly, then tagged his replacement, Jackson Phipps, with a solo home run in the eighth.

NEXT USC BASEBALL GAME

Who: No. 11 South Carolina (22-9, 8-4 SEC) vs. LSU (20-12, 3-9 SEC)

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Watch: Streaming online on SEC Network Plus