Florida Evens Series With 8-2 Win Over Gamecocks|
March 23, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Top ranked Florida raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and belted four home runs on the way to an 8-2 victory over sixth ranked South Carolina on Friday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium. The Gators improve to 21-2 and 4-1 in league play while Carolina is now 17-6 and 1-4 in the SEC. The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised live on CSS as well as on Time Warner Cable channel 506. It can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM "The Game."
Florida starter Brian Johnson earned the victory and is now 4-0 on the year. He allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. South Carolina starter Forrest Koumas lasted only one-plus inning in his first start of the season. He allowed six runs on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts. He is now 1-2 on the year.
The Gators jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Koumas. With one out, Daniel Pigott reached base on a single to left field and Preston Tucker worked the count full until he drew a walk giving the Gators a pair of runners. Mike Zunino would put Florida on the scoreboard with a three-run homer to left-center off the first pitch he saw from Koumas. That was followed by Brian Johnson, who went back-to-back, with a solo home run to left field that just cleared the wall in the corner. After loading the bases, the Gators added a run on a balk charged to Koumas. Johnson helped himself out again in the second inning with a two-out RBI single that increased the lead to 6-0.
Christian Walker opened the fourth inning with a solo home run, his third of the year to cut the deficit to 6-1. Florida went back ahead by six runs on their third homer of the game in the sixth inning, a solo shot by Vickash Ramjit. South Carolina answered in the bottom half as Walker walked with two outs and scored on Brison Celek's double to the gap in left-center to make it 7-2. Ramjit's second homer of the game in the top of the ninth inning gave the Gators an 8-2 edge.
Ramjit finished with three hits for the game. Tucker and Johnson also had two hits apiece as a part of a 10-hit day for the Gators. Walker was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and Celek was 2-for-3 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.