Gamecocks drop series opener at struggling Georgia

ATHENS, GA. (WACH/USC SID) - A pair of South Carolina errors in the bottom of the eighth inning led to two unearned runs that lifted Georgia to a 3-1 win over the 9th-ranked Gamecocks on Friday night in the series opener at Foley Field.

South Carolina falls to 34-12 and 12-10 in the SEC with Georgia now 22-22-1 and 8-13-1 in the league. The Gamecocks entered the contest three games behind SEC East-leading Florida.

Trailing by a run, the Gamecocks tied it at 1-1 in the eighth inning on Grayson Greiner's solo home run to left-center, his team-leading sixth homer of the year.

The Bulldogs answered in the bottom half of the inning. After a leadoff single by Skyler Weber, Georgia caught a break on a sac bunt by Mike Bell. Bell reached first as a muffed throw from Jordan Montgomery went off the glove of Gamecock second baseman Jordan Gore putting runners on the corners with no outs.

South Carolina turned to closer Joel Seddon, who promptly got the first out of the inning on ground ball. As the Gamecocks tried to turn two to end the inning, Gamecock shortstop Marcus Mooney threw high over to first and past first baseman Kyle Martin scoring Bell from second base. With two outs, Hunter Cole poked a RBI single into right field to score Welton and give the Bulldogs a two-run lead.

Georgia ended South Carolina's final threat in the ninth inning with a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of pinch hitter Brison Celek to end the game.

Jordan Montgomery suffered the loss and is now 6-4 for the year. He allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits in seven-plus innings with no walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Georgia starter Ryan Lawlor pitched a complete game to earn the win and is now 4-4 on the year. He allowed one run on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

"(We made) too many mistakes to win a game on the road in this league," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "It was a disappointing performance by us. Give (Lawlor) credit, he stuffed us pretty good. When a guy is pitching like that, you have to do some things. We couldn't get on via the bunt, he wouldn't walk anybody and the few balls we did square up, they were caught, outside of Grayson's ball. We didn't do enough to earn a win."

Greiner went 2-for-3 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Welton and Weber both had two hits to lead Georgia.

The series continues on Saturday with first pitch set for 1 p.m.